Trending Content

Spring Refresh With Continuing Education

By Julie Rice Suggs, Ph.D.

March 22, 2021

Spring is heralded for a host of reasons: the blooming flowers, heaps of sunshine, ideal temperatures, warm breezes, the emergence of new life. And with those changes comes a sense of renewal we feel all around us—a time for fresh beginnings.

For many, we’re spurred into a flurry of activity in our homes. Windows are flung open, baseboards scrubbed, closets emptied and reorganized, and multiple trips to the local Goodwill ensue. But this year, let’s push ourselves to focus on more than just the cobwebs along the ceiling—let’s do something with the cobwebs in our minds. There has been much to fill our minds in the past year, and a lot of it may have bogged us down. Maybe now, during this season of hope, we can turn our thoughts to curated learning and personal growth in our education.

You might have already reflected on this year, tested out some new ideas, made some plans—a list of things you want to start or improve on. That list may include exercising more frequently, cultivating a meditation practice, drinking more water, going to bed earlier, or making yourself smile before you even get out of bed. Adding continuing education would help round out that list. And while we may not be able to help you reach a state of enlightenment, we can most certainly help you learn more in the realm of packaging.

Just like the relationships on display everywhere in the springtime (bees and flowers, gentle rains, sunshine, and plants), AICC and The Packaging School work together to offer member companies and all respective employees the value-add of free training programs. Among these programs are more than 80 online courses in both English and Spanish, all related to the packaging industry and the manufacturing environment. With over 500 learning videos and some 250 educational documents and resources available, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to learn something new.

The Certificate of Packaging Science (CPS), a 12-course online curriculum that teaches the materials, processes, and influences shaping the advancement of the packaging industry, should be on your list of achievements to undertake this year. After completing all 12 CPS courses, AICC members are eligible for the CPS final exam coordinated through The Packaging School—the resulting credential is a registered and framed certificate that is sent to each earning graduate. This e-learning program provides relevant and comprehensive education on the global role of packaging in business and society.

What makes our online courses special? For starters, we use a technique called microlearning. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it just means we take difficult topics, break them up, and arrange them into bite-sized lessons learners can engage with on any device. We might use infographics, quick readings, videos, animations, discussions, or interactive slides as the vehicle to deliver information. This unique method empowers you to learn and complete courses on your schedule, at your own pace. We believe these short focused sessions help avoid mental burnout and cater to adult learning styles.

The benefits of continuing education throughout your career are numerous— an enhanced understanding of the world, newly opened doors to opportunities, improved quality of life, to name a few. Broadening your knowledge base will keep your brain active and sharp—and also improve your memory (anyone else desperate for help in that area?). Research shows a strong link between reading and overall health. Overall, learning is a form of mental exercise that can keep your mind robust and strong.

The promise of hope seems more prevalent and longed-for this spring. We’ve collectively been through many challenging circumstances since the spring of 2020. As we look around our natural world to watch the green buds burst forth into life during this change of season, our hope for you is that you overcome whatever difficulties you may be facing. Keep striving, take advantage of our programs, and continue learning, growing, and bettering yourself.

PortraitJulie Rice Suggs, Ph.D., is academic director at The Packaging School. She can be reached at 330-774-8542 or

PortraitAlli Keigley is production coordinator at The Packaging School. She can be reached at