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Summertime – Time for an Education Vacation

By Julie Rice Suggs, Ph.D.

July 9, 2021

Summer 2021 is upon us. And while summer means different things to different people, we wonder what it means for you this year. Chances are, your mind conjures up images of happy places associated with relaxation, fun, and sun (or shade), but that may not be your reality this go-around.

Certainly, for working professionals, the days of a three-month-long vacation are long gone. And the concerns over travel during the pandemic we’re still facing should be taken seriously. But that does not mean you cannot make time to try something new or get a fresh perspective on things—after all, isn’t that why we usually travel somewhere on a vacation? So, for those of us who can’t leave our 9-to-5 to head to the nearest beach, we have a different journey in mind—an educational journey. Online education is a way to explore something we’ve not previously had the time to delve into, and to gain valuable knowledge from our efforts. We’ve made it incredibly easy for you to do just that.

AICC’s partnership with The Packaging School allows for member companies and all respective employees to receive the value-add of training programs for free. And with more than 80 online courses in both English and Spanish, all related to the packaging industry and the manufacturing environment, you’re sure to find something that suits your current needs.

Let’s take a closer look at how these courses offer the chance for a packaging journey you won’t soon forget. The Corrugator, a course made in collaboration with Fosber, takes you through the key systems of—you guessed it—the corrugator, including the wet-end, dry-end, and corrugator control system. With up-to-date industry information, interactive diagrams, and exciting video clips, you’ll gain a strong understanding of corrugator zones and the key sections within.

Our Rotary Die Cutting Operations course was made in collaboration with SUN Automation and covers the fundamentals of rotary die cutting, beginning with an overview of the system capabilities and associated equipment. Here, you’ll dive into the major sections of this system: the feed section, print section, and die cut section.

Another course in which you can explore a place you may not be familiar with is our Machinery course. This journey takes you on a tour of the plant floor, where you’ll get a thorough look at the machinery used to produce high volumes of quality packages, such as line loading and unloading, container cleaning, liquid and solid product filling, form-fill sealing, capping and closing, labeling, etc.

In all of the courses we’ve discussed here, you’re able to see the various plant floor machinery from the comfort of your own home. Our online courses use a technique called microlearning, in which difficult topics are broken down and arranged into bite-sized lessons you can engage with on any device. Lessons take the form of infographics, quick readings, videos, animations, discussions, and interactive slides. This unique delivery method empowers you to complete courses on your schedule, at your own pace.

At this point, you may be thinking there’s no way a virtual “trip” to a corrugated plant can replace a trip to, say, Belize. In some respects, it can’t, but it can offer a respite from the day-to-day grind of a normal workweek. Take your computer outside if the weather allows breathe in the fresh air—and broaden your knowledge of a subject that you’re interested in. Not only will your body be replenished from being outside—we know the numerous health benefits of enjoying the natural world—but your mind and intellect will also be sharpened. And continuing education throughout your career gives you an enhanced understanding of the world, opens doors to new opportunities, and improves quality of life.

Even though online training may not be as glamorous as a five-day vacation at an exotic resort, it does have the potential to change your life for the better—to open your eyes and give you a renewed sense of purpose or direction. So no matter what the summer holds for you, we challenge you to take some time for an educational journey—along with that trip to Belize, if you can swing it. You won’t regret it.

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