The Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) recently launched its 2015 Summer Internship Program, an outreach initiative that connects packaging students with nearby PPC member companies that offer summer internships at their plants.

With this type of specialized internship, university packaging students execute day-to-day tasks for converters, thereby freeing up staff for higher-level projects. And with their fresh eyes, specialized strengths and Millennial perspectives, interns can inspire converters to find new solutions to common problems. Conversely, the interns generally receive college credit and, most importantly, invaluable, real-world experience that can jumpstart successful careers in the paperboard packaging industry.

“For the thousands of packaging students soon to be seeking summer work, PPC’s Internship Program offers the unique opportunity to get hands on experience from some of the best converters in the industry,” says Ben Markens, PPC president. “And since these students represent future packaging designers and executives, we also hope that the internships will instill within them a lifelong affinity for paper-based packaging.”

The Summer Internship Program comes at an opportune time: Manufacturers across the country are beginning to feel the effects of a rapidly aging workforce. As baby boomers begin to retire, a skilled labor shortage is emerging. At the same time, negative stereotypes about manufacturing have discouraging Millennials from seeking out careers in manufacturing. A proactive measure aimed at fortifying the paperboard packaging industry’s workforce, PPC’s internship program brings Millennials into folding carton plants while dispelling any discouraging myths.

“The manufacturing sector is having a hard time bringing young workers into the fold,” says Lou Kornet, vice president and chief of staff at PPC. “We aim to counter that trend with our internship program. By bringing students into our members’ folding carton facilities, we show them the rich opportunities that await in our industry.”

The internship initiative is just one component of PPC’s larger University Outreach Program, which also includes educational materials PPC members can use when giving presentations at local universities, opportunities for PPC members to sponsor packaging students to attend PPC conferences or workshops, a student design challenge, and the Ideas and Innovation Handbook — a go-to textbook for all things paperboard packaging.

For more information on PPC’s University Outreach Program, or to view a list of contacts for university internship programs, visit