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Who’s Ready for Summer School?

By Julie Rice Suggs, Ph.D.

May 17, 2022

width=639With out a doubt, many of us are ready to celebrate the warmth and fun of summer days filled with long evenings, the sun shining hot, and exciting plans to fill up your weekends. And even if summer doesn’t mean three months of vacation—because, you know, we’re adults now—we can still have fun creating a summer bucket list full of ideas for new adventures. If you haven’t already put together your summer of 2022 bucket list, here are some ideas to get you started: hike in a place you’ve never been (followed by a lovely picnic on-site), get some friends and head to the pool, take a road trip, watch a live sporting event, and so on. Oh, and one more thing—take some online classes. I think I hear crickets on that one. But hear us out.

Now, we understand that your immediate response to the thought of having continued education on a summer bucket list is likely one of disdain or disbelief. Maybe that’s because you are thinking back to the summer school days of your youth—and, yes, yuck! However, we’re definitely not talking about anything that requires you to be cooped up in a classroom all day, learning from a blackboard while sitting at an uncomfortable desk.

While you most likely know that’s not what we’re talking about, you may not be familiar with what we are suggesting. For starters, you don’t need the heavy books, binders, and backpack full of notebooks and pencils that harken back to your middle school days. The only thing you need is access to a computer and at least 3 Mbps of internet—easy, right? AICC’s partnership with The Packaging School allows for member companies and all respective employees the value-add of online 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. Just grab your computer, and we’ll get you squared away.

Not only have we removed the need for bulky school supplies, but we’ve also made the method of instruction one that caters to adult learning styles. How? 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 then arrange them into bite-sized lessons you can engage with on any device. We use infographics, quick readings, videos, animations, discussions, and interactive slides as the vehicles to deliver information. This unique method empowers you to learn and complete courses on your schedule, at your own pace, anywhere you might be.

New Adventures

To add to the extensive existing course catalog, we have some new opportunities for you to dive into this summer.

The first new course available to you is called Innovations and Machinery Advancements in the Corrugated Industry. This course is part of AICC’s Education Investor Program, which allows member companies to be thought leaders in the industry through premier online education with The Packaging School. Working with subject matter experts Katie Graham and Rob McCann from BOBST, we take you on a journey to help you better understand the current state of the corrugated industry as well as where it’s headed. New trends, demands, and the ever-changing state of the world are causing the industry to make significant strides in machinery advancements. These advancements aim to mitigate current pain points in the industry and streamline your packaging line.

This course begins with an engaging infographic overview of the corrugated market–you can even download it! Then we jump into some key packaging trends that help brands and converters alike compete efficiently, such as economic growth, consumer trends, brand owner trends, sustainability, e-commerce, digital advancements, and packaging automation.

The next module focuses on industry pains and the innovative solutions and technology that can offer some relief. Topics include workforce challenges, consistency, precision, and inline production—you also hear about real-life examples on the packaging lines and how current are being dealt with. Lastly, the course explores two BOBST industry solutions—an automatic packer and a flexo printing and rotary die cutting (DRO) innovation.

Another course adventure to add to your bucket list is the Machine Primer resource. Working with subject matter expert Scott Ellis, Ed.D., of Working Well and numerous education investors, we created an interactive experience for you to learn from. This resource will introduce you to a wide variety of equipment utilized in today’s packaging industry in a format that allows you to follow your own adventure, so to speak, and select equipment that interests you. The machines used as examples represent various generations of technology. For example, a flexo folder gluer may be a fully functional, two-color, gear-driven machine built in the 1970s, or it might be a 10-color, servo-driven, fixed-architecture machine built last year. The core functionality of printing, cutting, gluing, and folding is the same no matter the machine. Each machine comes complete with a definition, video, and diagram that help the learner understand the basics of how the machine works. More examples will be added for each machine type as they become available, so stay tuned for updates.

Hopefully, you’re seeing that these courses are nothing like your old summer school experiences. Our courses are engaging, informative, and relevant to wherever you are in the packaging industry. Bonus: You can take them while you’re on your epic summer escapade—it’ll be like an adventure on top of an adventure! We’ll see you there!


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







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