NEENAH, Wis. (June 1, 2022) – Anna Futter, a production lead at Menasha Packaging Company, a subsidiary of Menasha Corporation, recently received the Excellence in Mentorship Award from GPS Education Partners (GPSEd), Wisconsin’s only manufacturing-specific, work-based student apprenticeship program. The award, which was given during the GPSEd Senior Graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 25 in Neenah, recognizes Futter’s dedication to helping apprentices, and her openness to serving as a guide and resource.
Menasha Packaging and other Fox Cities’ companies partner with GPSEd’s Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship Program to support six local high schools from three school districts, in which students from those high schools gain on-the-job experience while fulfilling academic requirements. A key element of the GPSEd program is the skilled mentors, who are employees of the partner companies and provide a vital role in training the students in essential job functions and soft skills. Each year GPSEd acknowledges the dedicated efforts of the mentors and instituted the prestigious Excellence in Mentorship Award in 2013 to recognize the contributions of workplace mentors and their impact on student learners.
“Anna is an exceptional mentor to students,” said Bill Wiesmueller, GPS Work-Based Learning Coordinator. “She is very approachable and easy to talk to. Anna is equally fair and thoughtful, and firm when needed. Her patience and willingness to go the extra step to support students made her a natural choice for the Excellence in Mentorship Award.”
Futter has been employed at Menasha Packaging since 2019 and has served as the dedicated student mentor for all GPS apprentices at the Menasha Packaging Promotional Print Solutions facility in Neenah.
“What a great honor for Anna,” said Jeremy Wittmann, Pressroom Manager for Menasha Packaging. “Shortly after starting at Menasha Packaging, we asked her to work with the GPS program, mentoring four students her first year. In her role, she works with the students each day, providing them direction when working in the plant. She is an incredible asset to both Menasha Packaging and GPS!”
Menasha Packaging has partnered with GPSEd since 2017, and in 2020, Menasha Packaging repurposed space in one of its Neenah facilities to serve as the GPS Fox Cities Education Center where annually nearly 40 local high school students attend class for three hours of their school day and work at a Fox Cities’ partner company the remaining five hours of the day. Student apprentices for Menasha Packaging work in one of the company’s manufacturing facilities in the Fox Cities or in Hartford, Wis. Students complete one to two years of apprenticeship experience in their assigned facility, earn their high school diploma and are ultimately offered a full-time position. Students also have the option to pursue higher education through a technical college. This year, a total of 26 students graduated from the Fox Cities GPSEd program, which was the largest graduating class among GPSEd’s multiple Education Centers across Wisconsin.
“It’s so inspiring to see how the collective efforts of the education community, business partners, students, GPSEd and strong mentors, like Anna, have influenced and expanded local work-based learning opportunities over the past five years,” said Jennifer Twombly, Vice President of HR Transformation at Menasha Corporation, who spearheaded the company’s partnership in the program. “While the tight labor market the past two years has prioritized the need for businesses to pursue alternative strategies to fill job openings, what’s most compelling to Menasha Corporation in investing in work-based learning is the role we can play in helping students discover their passion, purpose and desired path following high school graduation. With the projected talent shortage in manufacturing and the skilled trades, these community partnerships are vital to develop the next generation workforce and unlock potential career opportunities many high school students may not have otherwise considered.”
About Menasha Corporation
Menasha Corporation is a leading corrugated and plastic packaging manufacturer and supply chain solutions provider specializing in retail merchandising packaging and displays, plastic reusable containers and pallets, protective packaging interiors, and packaging supply chain and fulfillment services. Comprised of two companies—Menasha Packaging Company and ORBIS Corporation—Menasha Corporation’s products and services are used by major food, beverage, consumer products, industrial/automotive, health and beauty, over-the-counter pharmaceutical, and electronics companies. Established in 1849, Menasha Corporation is one of America’s oldest privately held, family-owned manufacturing companies. Headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, the company employs nearly 7,000 employees in 103 facilities in North America and Europe. For more information, visit menashacorporation.com.
About GPS Education Partners
GPS Education Partners is an innovative education model that prepares and partners high school juniors and seniors with businesses to accelerate technical education and drive success. Students who complete the rigorous program earn their high school diploma and nationally-recognized manufacturing certifications, as well as develop skills for life and experience a career in manufacturing by participating in a hands-on, immersive, blended learning setting in local manufacturing environments. By connecting the students and employers of today with the job opportunities and technology of tomorrow, the organization is revolutionizing how students prepare for a technical career. For more information, visit gpsed.org.