Technology is evolving at a rapid pace: It increases efficiency, specialization, collaboration and opportunity.
To keep up with the ever-changing technology and plastics landscape, Jabil Plastics Technology Learning Center of Clinton, Mass., is open to students, employees, customers and suppliers for online and on-site manufacturing training and learning.
Initially named Nypro University, the Jabil Learning Center was founded in 1979 by Gordon Lankton, founder of Nypro Inc., which was acquired by Jabil Circuit Inc. for $665 million in 2013.
"Back at that time, the industry was growing and there was a gap in talent. Rather than go out and recruit and try to find this talent and be competitive — competitively recruiting with other companies — Gordon thought it would be good to teach internally," said Bruce Witts, senior director of the Jabil Plastics Technology Learning Center.
"The key events that happened in that time is, from 1979, the first 10 or 12 years, it was more or less an internal learning center, more of an on-the-job training, if you will. Then, when it branched out, what took us external was the relationship with Fitchburg [State University in Fitchburg, Mass.]," Witts said.
The partnership between the Jabil Plastics Technology Learning Center and Fitchburg State University works as "a satellite learning center, specifically instruction in plastics technology," according to Witts. The course materials and instruction are held by Jabil, while the registration and credits are held by Fitchburg.
The University of Massachusetts–Lowell heard about the program and thought it was "pretty revolutionary," Witts said, so it wanted to become academic partners. The partnerships with the universities "took us more of an external reach and took us toward academic credits," he said.
"Nypro was actually a plastics partner and actually a fairly significant supplier for about 60 years. We were in the electronics space, in the medical space, then branched into the plastics packaging not too long ago — early 2000s," said Christine McDermott, chief marketing officer for Jabil Packaging Solutions. "At the end of the day, the business recognized the need for us to support the development of talent in the space because the universities were not turning out resources that were sufficient to meet the needs of the fairly complex industry."