Teachers learn about paper manufacturing

The Hawesville Mill hosted a group of 16 representatives from the Teachers in the Workplace Program on Thursday, March 21. This program is designed to expose educators to industry in the region in order to learn about the challenges their students may face upon graduation. The goal is to make them more aware of the processes and expectations in advanced manufacturing worksites and to demonstrate the connections between concepts learned in the classroom and their application in the world of work.

Following the morning’s gathering and introductions, Hawesville’s General Manager, Steve Henry, welcomed the group and provided a background on Domtar, along with a description of the mill’s rich history, our products and the science, technology, engineering and manufacturing applications in the workplace. Members of the mill’s management team, which included Byron Alvey, Richard Basham and Jon Miller, spoke about the engineering department and the process engineer’s role at the mill. Renee McBrayer spoke about the Nowlin selection process, and members of our mill team spoke about soft skills that we expect job applicants to possess.

The group were then given tours of the bleached pulp and fine paper mills, with Tom Holm, Casper Keller, Alex Beam and Deion Mucker assisting as knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides. This allowed the teachers to see our employees at work and better understand our work environment.

About the visit, Helen Mountjoy of Regional Alliance for Education, sponsors of this program, wrote, “The participants felt strongly that they received a reasonable perspective on the skills and knowledge needed to be successful at Domtar and they felt the presenters were very effective. Several of them commented on evaluation forms that hearing from employers would influence the ways they communicate with their students about preparing for the world of work. And, they LOVED the tour. Your tour guides were both knowledgeable and personable. They responded to a variety of questions, introduced us to a lot of other workers, explained processes carefully, and made the experience both educational and enjoyable! Their overall score for the Domtar visit was 9.2 on a 10-point scale – which ties for the highest score given this entire year! Thank you so much for letting us come and for being such terrific hosts.”

The Hawesville Mill was proud to be selected to host this event and hopes to again partner with the Regional Alliance for Education. We believe that by preparing a workforce for the unique challenges of manufacturing, we are investing in our mill’s future.