Business-education partnership with Nekoosa High School

Dating back to the late 1800s, the pulp and paper industry and the city of Nekoosa have been inextricably linked. To give you an idea, Nekoosa High School (NHS) students have been given the nickname “papermakers” for several generations. And Domtar’s Nekoosa Mill remains committed to keeping the papermaker name alive and well for many more to come.

Over the past few decades, fewer and fewer students graduating from NHS consider manufacturing (paper, chemical, food, etc.) as a viable career. The locally-based Incourage Community Foundation has recently embarked on a mission to change that trend.

In fact, many of our area’s business and community leaders have come together to form this collaborative partnership to study and develop programs/affiliations to help local high school graduates become the workforce that will allow this area to prosper in the future. Strong partnerships between our schools, businesses and the community will be the engine that drives this new initiative.

Leaders from the Nekoosa Mill and employees from Nekoosa schools recently met at Nekoosa High School to begin discussing what the partnership might look like. As a result, strategies have been identified that will bring the entities together for purposeful collaborations to create/enhance each other’s sustainability as long-term community partners.

During this visit, Domtar employees were able to tour the school and observe first-hand students engaged in learning. Our staff even took the opportunity to facilitate that learning as they interacted with students and staff in various instructional areas.

Plans are in place to begin offering mill tours to NHS students and staff as a way to provide them with an insider’s look at the many learning and career opportunities it has to offer. Furthermore, various NHS staff members who have already entered into this partnership will begin to brainstorm on ways to enhance learning through on-site job shadowing or having Domtar employees share their expertise with students in the school setting.

This business-education endeavor is still in the infancy stage, but both groups are looking forward to an interesting and mutually beneficial partnership.