Packaging Group Launches Job Board to Connect Students With Members

An estimated 2 million manufacturing jobs expected to go unfilled in the next decade. PMMI’s site is intended to help close the gap.

Want to introduce students to the work your association’s industry does? One group, with the help of a sponsor, has launched a job board designed to better connect college students directly with member businesses.

Launched last month by PMMI, a trade association representing the packaging and processing industry, CareerLink is an online job board that’s free to members and targeted at students pursuing degrees in engineering and mechatronics. The site has been in development for about a year, said Stephan Girard, director of education and workforce development at PMMI. The association’s own research and feedback from members, he said, showed that companies needed stronger connections with students who would be good potential fits.

Students were having a hard time finding out about open positions.

“There is a huge need by our members to find qualified workers,” Girard said. “And we heard from students and also from some partner schools who mentioned that students were having a hard time finding out about open positions in different segments of manufacturing.”

There’s a sizable skills gap in manufacturing industries: According to research from the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte LLC, 3.4 million manufacturing jobs are expected to become available in the next decade, but 2 million of them are estimated to be unfilled. Hence CareerLink’s emphasis on entry-level jobs and internships. “[The site is] about helping our members find those qualified people because there are so few of them out there,” he said. “Selfishly, we would love to see them in packaging and processing.”

To help get the word out to students, PMMI is promoting the site with the more than 60 partner schools that it has relationships with. “We’ve reached out to all of our contacts there, whether they’re professors or career centers, and making them aware of it,” Girard said. It will also promote the site heavily at its annual conference, which attracts approximately 900 students.

The site also has the benefit of a sponsor: The Bosch Community Fund, a nonprofit arm of the manufacturing and technology company Bosch, which provided a $50,000 grant to help launch CareerLink. The partnership was a natural fit, Girard said, since the fund was already communicating with PMMI about promoting ways to close the skills gap.

“We would have done this one way or the other, but this really helps us in terms of making sure that it’s sustained,” he said. “We’re looking at this to be around for quite some time.”

In the near term, Girard said, PMMI will work closely with the members participating in the site to make improvements. “We’re looking for feedback from our member companies in terms of who they’re hiring, how many they’re hiring, and how it’s working for them,” he said. “We’ll see if there are things that they’d like to see us do in terms of functionality or features.”

(scyther5/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

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