Georgia Pacific wins state Futuremaker award for education partnership with NWTC

Wednesday May 6, 2015


Collaboration between manufacturer and education wins praise from Wisconsin Technical College System Board; GP adds $15,000 grant

The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Board awarded its "Futuremakers Partner" award to Georgia-Pacific Tuesday evening. The award recognizes the unique and dynamic partnerships between Wisconsin’s technical colleges and their employer partners.

Georgia-Pacific, a world-leading manufacturer of tissue, pulp, paper, packaging, building products and related chemicals, has extensive Green Bay operations and a longstanding partnership with NWTC. The company has been instrumental in developing programs that keep Wisconsin technology near the top of U.S. manufacturing.

Dr Rafn with Georgia Pacific Executives
On Tuesday the company also announced a $15,000 commitment to funding NWTC middle-school tech camps and 10 scholarships for NWTC students.

"How can our employees prepare for the future?" asked Georgia-Pacific Vice President of Manufacturing Randy Harbath. "I often tell them they need to have a two-year degree from a technical college for us to remain competitive."

Georgia-Pacific has donated equipment, hired NWTC graduates, and established the first co-op programs at NWTC. The company is also very engaged with the College’s Corporate Training and Economic Development department to obtain ongoing advanced training for their incumbent workers. Since 2000, they have contributed nearly $100,000 to fund a variety of programs at NWTC.

"Randy and Georgia-Pacific have not only been terrific partners with NWTC, but they’ve also been consistent, vocal advocates for technical education more generally. What a great moment to be able to recognize that commitment," said WTCS Board President Drew Petersen.

Examples of Georgia Pacific contributions to NWTC


Georgia-Pacific and the Georgia-Pacific Foundation have been long-time supporters of the NWTC Educational Foundation. Georgia-Pacific’s giving places a priority on education including job training, college scholarships and school partnerships. Since 2000, they have contributed nearly $100,000 to fund a variety of programs at NWTC including student scholarships and Tech Camps. Tech Camps, summer career education programs for middle and high-school students, allow students to explore diverse careers with hands-on activities. In addition to financial contributions, they also provide valuable community leadership. George Semenak and Larry Harkness served as past members of the NWTC Educational Foundation Board of Directors.

Program development and employee training

Georgia-Pacific’s partnership has been instrumental in developing highly technical programs such as Electro-Mechanical, Automation Technology and Manufacturing Engineering. Georgia Pacific employees serve on several advisory committees (Electro-Mechanical/Automation, Mechanical Design, and Manufacturing Engineering Technology) and attend student capstone presentations. The company has donated equipment, hired our grads, participated in the annual Engineering Open House, and established the first co-op programs at NWTC. They’ve donated equipment (e.g., the winder we used for the capstone projects a few years ago), help us with student practice interviews, give presentations to students in the tech hall, attend student capstone presentations, have women engineers help with our Women in Trades event, have a table at Engineers Week Open House, and of course hire our graduates!

Dr. Rafn Stands with Georgia Pacific executives
Georgia Pacific has been the sponsor of the annual Career Fair for the last 5 years contributing $2000.00 each year. They have also done on site interviewing for Career Academy students in Electro-mechanical.

Georgia-Pacific has also been very engaged with the College’s Corporate Training and Economic Development area to obtain ongoing and advanced training for their incumbent workers. They have also provided letters of support for many of NWTC’s grant applications and have been a strong voice in the N.E.W. Manufacturing Alliance.

To create and maintain long-term career pathways and provide for the future skilled workforce, Georgia-Pacific was very active in building the Bay Link Manufacturing program in partnership with NWTC, the Green Bay Area Public Schools and the N.E.W. Manufacturing Alliance. Larry Harkness, Human Resource Manager, was a great help in facilitating visits and tours with our K12 partners the Green Bay Area Public Schools.

Student support

Georgia-Pacific has been a leader in providing hands-on work experience learning opportunities for NWTC students, supporting the College's Business Management and Supply Chain Management students and hiring NWTC Civil Engineering and Mechanical Design co-op students.

Contact: Conor Smyth, (608) 266-2991,



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