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Mid-State Technical College joins national training network.

Like the water spilling over nearby Wisconsin River rapids, enthusiasm is bubbling as eager educators and industry representatives begin to implement a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) National Center grant. Nearly 200 pulp and paper representatives, educators, administrators, and state officials gathered as Mid-State Technical College (MSTC), Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, USA announced it would establish a regional training center for pulp and paper technology.

Sharing a portion of the recently awarded US$ 4.9 million ATE grant from NSF, MSTC will establish itself as one of four regional network "nodes," leading the 12-state Midwest region. The grant, established to provide the pulp and paper sector of the U.S. forest products industry with a technologically advanced workforce, will help assure the viability of the U.S. industry in a globally competitive market.

Speaking at the announcement event, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle eagerly pointed out that the state is the number one producer of paper in the United States, annually producing more than 5 million tons of paper and 1.1 million tons of paperboard. In Wisconsin, "we grow it, make it into paper, and then print on it," said Doyle. "Paper is part of Wisconsin's heritage, and this grant is part of our future."

Paper industry leaders recognize that education and training are a must for the industry to create and sustain a competitive edge in Wisconsin, and in all of the U.S. That is why the National Network for Pulp and Paper Technology Training, or (npt)[.sup.2], will be indispensable to U.S. manufacturers.

THE (NPT)[.sup.2] NETWORK

(npt)[.sup.2] is an alliance of community college--university partnerships with extensive industry involvement. While the National Network plans on rapid growth throughout the United States, the charter partnerships consist of Alabama Southern Community College (the grant's fiscal agent and home to the National Center for Pulp and Paper Technology Training) & Auburn University; Mid-State Technical College & University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point/University of Minnesota; Kennebec Valley Community College & University of Maine; and Lower Columbia College & University of Washington. Each partnership will implement a regional training program while recruiting other colleges to join. In the Midwest, MSTC will work with UWSP, which has established an industry-recognized pulp and paper science program.

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The foundation of (npt)[.sup.2] is improved education and training for today's workforce as well as tomorrow's. As such, key deliverables over the four-year grant period include:

* National pulp and paper technician and operator certification program

* Improved community college curricula

* Career information toolkit

* TAPPI Recognized Education Provider (REP) program to recognize high quality providers of education and training. For more information, go to: http://www.tappi.org/index.asp?piG=312398&ch=2

* Annual technician/operator book series

* Monthly e-publication

TWO-YEAR DEGREES

In the Midwest, MSTC will offer an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in papermaking technology. The technical college and UWSP's paper science department are also discussing a plan to let graduating AAS students continue their education with a four-year degree. The outcome will be highly skilled and more knowledgeable mill employees. MSTC is also working to develop incumbent worker training for individuals who are already working in the industry

Dr. James Bond, an MSTC faculty member and MSTC's representative to (npt)[.sup.2], said some of the college's courses are already in place, and a full curriculum is being developed. Students enrolling now will take core courses, and a full slate of paper technology courses will be developed over the next year.

CONTACT US!

To find your regional (npt)[.sup.2] representative and learn about (npt)[.sup.2], visit www.tappi.org.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Sara M. Scharpf is a freelance writer based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA. J. Robert Caron is director of industry learning for TAPPI.

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COPYRIGHT 2004 Paper Industry Management Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:FOUR MINUTE FOCUS
Author:Caron, Robert
Publication:Solutions - for People, Processes and Paper
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:633
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