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Nancy Wilson, CEO of Morrison Container Handling Solutions, is the chair of PMMI’s Future Workforce Committee that developed this program for PACK EXPO International 2022. The program stemmed from the committee’s work to expand the future workforce in the packaging and processing industries.
PACK Challenge brings together local high schools in the greater Chicago area to participate in this pilot program that requires creativity and collaboration for designing, building, programming, debugging, and marketing a real-world piece of packaging equipment.
“We are excited to introduce this first-of-its-kind and watch the students roll up their sleeves in a real-world application while they learn,” says Jim Pittas, president a & CEO, PMMI. “One of our main priorities is getting students involved at a young age and showing them the doors the manufacturing industry can open. This competition will give them first-hand experience of what a career in manufacturing could look like.”
In this competition, the students are challenged to develop a filling machine that will place marbles into jars. Students were provided with basic base frames and safety guarding packages, along with the challenge and constraints to design and build a filling machine. The teams were hosted at Morrison as they began the assembly process.
As one of the founding strategic partners of PACK Challenge, Morrison was pleased to open its doors to the students, giving them a taste of life in the manufacturing world.
“Build Day was a positive way to turn over the base equipment and help provide some guidance as the students began to assemble their project,” said Wilson. “The students brought a contagious energy, and it was fun to watch their skills develop and excitement as they began the hands-on build of their machine. Programs like these are needed to grow interest for young people in the packaging industry.”
Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery and Siemens also supported build day. Spee-Dee is sharing their expertise in the filling industry and assisted the teams with their filling design ideas while Siemens aided in the controls side of things by supporting the equipment they have donated, providing training to the teams so they would have a solid foundation to start.
“Programs like PACK Challenge are critical to the future success of the packaging industry,” Wilson said. “Manufacturers and end users alike need to continue to team up together to find creative ways to engage students at the high school and college levels so they begin to consider a career in packaging early and understand the boundless opportunities packaging can provide to them.”
Go to the PACK Challenge webpage to learn more or get involved or contact Kate Fiorianti at email@example.com.