Package and Materials Evaluation Co-op: Understanding Corrugated Performance
Packaging Corporation of America
Location: Vernon Hills, Illinois
Type: Full Time
Packaging Science / Engineering
Sustainable, corrugated packaging is at the forefront of the consumer experience, and a Co-op at PCA’s brand new Research and Innovation Center in the northwest suburbs of Chicago would be ideal for any student interested in a deep understanding of paper-based packaging. Over the course of a 6–8-month Co-op, students will develop broad technical knowledge about this fundamental packaging material through hands-on testing and evaluation, including box compression and ISTA testing, Amazon certifications, ECTs and board analysis, Hazmat and BMC validation, and the whole gamut of paper testing. Our students also get exposure to corrugated design, visit box manufacturing facilities, and interact with a diverse array of customers. Given its key function in our supply chains, understanding corrugated packaging will help you wherever your career path takes you.
We are currently seeking Co-ops for January-August and May-December 2024. This paid position supports a materials, package testing, and optimization team, providing information to address customer support requests, develop fundamental product knowledge, improve product performance, and increase customer satisfaction. The average student works on a variety of projects, reporting results that often end up in the hands of some of the world’s largest brand owners—potential future employers. Many students also do independent research projects.
We are a small, dedicated team with large goals and a strong, established reputation. We support PCA facilities across the United States, including six containerboard mills, over 80 packaging manufacturing locations, and multiple design centers, as well as thousands of customers. We work within a large network solving unique and interesting problems to ensure that all the products our customers ship to homes and stores arrive safe and sound. We seek to set the standard in helping our customers — large and small — safely package, transport, and display products of all kinds.
During their time with us, our students typically: 1. Learn proficient, correct, and accurate use of paper, board, and packaging testing equipment for materials and package evaluation. 2. Engage daily in materials and package testing, interacting with a range of internal and external customers to provide clear and effective analysis, evaluation, and communication of test data. 3. Work on self-directed projects that expand the boundaries of industry knowledge on corrugated materials, in a lab with a long history of publications and successful scientific developments.
The Package and Materials Evaluation Co-op requires good communication skills and a willingness to work hard, with dedication, focus, and attention to detail. Verbal and written communication with internal and external customers plays a vital role in any technical endeavor. The student must be self-motivated and proactive, with good interpersonal skills, a willingness to admit and correct errors, and a desire to learn.
Recent student testimonials: • “It's a very friendly work environment that gives a lot of insight into the paper and packaging industries. Very interesting to learn about the material properties of paper.” • “A continuous learning experience as opposed to training followed by tedious work to recoup training investment. A culture of people that results in working with anyone being enjoyable.” • “Flexible hours, a great staff who show care for their craft and are approachable, real people with lives outside of work. The sheer number of departments in this small lab allow one to see all sides of the box industry from a unique R&D perspective.”
“When you choose Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), you work with people who do the right things for each other and for our customers. We believe in utilizing the power of strong collaborative relationships, bound by the trust we have earned, to deliver innovative packaging solutions and an outstanding service experience.”
If you enjoy exploring and understanding how materials contribute to functional end products; if you are self-driven, willing to work hard, ask thoughtful questions, and learn; if you feel you can be successful in a fast-paced team environment handling multiple projects in parallel; this opportunity at PCA’s Research and Innovation Center is for you.
As a Fortune 500 company, Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) is an ideas and solutions company. Our corrugated packaging business seeks to be the leader in helping our customers — large and small — package, transport and display products of all kinds. Our white paper business delivers Paper With Purpose by providing the highest level of customer service and operational excellence. We have approximately 15,000 team members in more than 100 locations in the United States that strive to meet the local needs of our customers. Our mission is to serve the needs of our customers, today and tomorrow, with products and services that exceed expectations for performance and environmental responsibility.