Regeneration of the paper industry: Why it’s important to engage today’s youth

Attracting new talents is one of our industry’s biggest challenges, said Global Win Capital Corporation’s Mike Grimm

Mike Grimm, President and CEO of Global Win Capital Corporation, shared his thoughts on why he believes capturing the interest of young talents is the key to the future of the paper industry, and how leaders of the industry could do so.

Watch the full interview or read the short summary below.

What are some of the challenges we are facing in this industry?

Talent erosion has been a challenge that has grown over the past two decades through consolidation and retirement. One of the biggest things that we have to deal with in the industry right now is attracting new talent into our sector.

I believe that the paper industry has so much to offer as one of the largest industries in North America. Ultimately, it is our job to tell of the great things that go on in the industry and introduce it to the next generation. That does not just include the folks in college, but also high schools and even primary education. We need to show people what the paper industry is all about.

How can our industry engage the young generation?

I always hear about the younger generation being disinterested in working in a manufacturing environment. I think part of that problem is that we haven’t done a good enough job telling them what goes on. Our education systems are aligning kids these days to go to college, but they should know that there are opportunities outside that. People can make a good living in the manufacturing world, from being a welder to an electronic technician, for example.

It is an incredible thing to take a kid for a walk in a paper mill. I take a group to our mill and spend time showing them all the things that go into doing what we do every day. What is incredibly interesting to me is that it starts that spark in them – and I think the leaders in the industry have to do a better job at that.

How can we make the industry attractive for the youth of today? What are some of the barriers?

Digital technology has changed many ways people communicate today, even more so after the pandemic. We have to embrace that and use it to help business advance in new ways of communicating with people and promoting our industry, making sure they understand what we do.

There are so many parts to our industry, from the forest to paper manufacturing and all the way to packaging. There are so many different products from this industry that people use on a day-to-day basis without realizing where they came from – it is our job to introduce that to them and make it attractive for the next generation to get into, using a medium that they understand.

Want to hear more from leaders of the forest products industry? Join us at our Fastmarkets Forest Products (formerly RISI) conferences for our exclusive leaders’ panels where top executives share their insights on the industry.

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