Packaging Industry Offers Abundance of Opportunity

Not too far from the Liquid Packaging Solutions facility, Indiana State University offers students a Packaging Engineering Technology program. A program that, according to Instructor Brian James, boasts a 100% placement rate, which is likely somewhat easier to maintain when, as James notes, there are probably 17-20 open positions for each and every student that completes the program.

At LPS, we understand the vastness that is the packaging industry. Just at LPS alone, packaging machinery is engineered, designed, built and installed, all while offering training and service on the equipment. And keep in mind, this is only the equipment! The industry uses engineers for packages themselves, for component parts, for the machinery. Labor is necessary to build the machines at companies like LPS, as well as run and maintain the machines at each of the end users. There are marketing specialists and design specialists for boxes, bottles, bags and more. Given the size of the packaging industry, it actually comes as no surprise that in certain areas, the jobs outnumber the applicants.

And the packaging business is only growing, while offering new challenges to the next generation to join the industry. The challenge of meeting the goal of sustainability has begun, even after some difficulty even defining that term, with some major accomplishments in areas such as reducing waste through recycling and improving product lifestyles. However, new challenges will arrive as more and more products that require packaging hit the shelf. New technologies will offer better ways to fill, cap, label and otherwise prepare products. Packaging professionals of the future will face the challenge of keeping processes sustainable while also meeting production demands and customizing equipment for any new trends that emerge in the industry.

Though packaging has been around for a very long time, it is a fairly new subject from an educational viewpoint. James notes that it has been difficult to get students in to the program organically. Part of this likely stems from the fact that students are simply not aware of the many different career paths and employment opportunities available in the packaging world. Programs like those at Indiana State are essential to not only create interest in a multi-billion dollar industry with a multitude of opportunities, but to prepare the next generation of packaging professionals to handle both today's challenges as well as those in the future.

See Alex Brown's article ISU Program Targets Packaging Engineering Talent Gap on the Inside Indiana Business website for more on this program and for more from Instructor Brian James.