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Sow, and then reap and reap and reap the benefits

Find young people you determine are worth investing in, and then support their studies. That, says one who should know, is the best way to bond their interests to those of this industry and to your company.

Find young people you determine are worth investing in, and then support their studies. That, says one who should know, is the best way to bond their interests to those of this industry and to your company.

The plastics industry and other manufacturing industries face a dramatic workforce shortage in the very near future. By 2012, it is estimated the United States alone will be short 3 million skilled workers, according to Barbara Fossum, president of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). In a recent interview with Khaled Al-Mana, executive VP, polymers at plastics supplier Sabic, we asked him to identify challenges facing his company. He swiftly cited “human resources” as a global challenge facing Sabic, its competitors, and its customers, processors such as you.

So what’s to be done? You’ll find our “As I See It” interview with Jason McNulty, a college student in Wisconsin who is gunning for a dual plastics engineering/manufacturing engineering major, and is a recent recipient of three scholarships. His advice to processors keen to seed their future headcount is pretty simple: Help students financially. It may sound crass, but it’s simply the reality. Wave money in a student’s face and you can quickly get his attention. People attend colleges, universities, and trade schools for many reasons, but “put myself in position for a good job” is at or near the top of the list.

Dig deeper into the magazine for our cover story on e-commerce. Talking about e-business went out of style with the dotcom bubble’s explosion 10 years ago, but in fact processors are using the Web and other digital tools to very good advantage; we talk with two of them, one each in the United States and China, plus offer tips on making the most of your own website.

•  •  •

In internal matters, I’m happy to announce that Canon Communications LLC, the parent company of Modern Plastics Worldwide, Injection Molding Magazine, the PlasticsToday.com Web portal and related products, plus the Plastec, Medtec, MD&M, and other industry-specific trade shows, was acquired for $287 million by United Business Media, making it one of the largest business-to-business (B2B) publishing deals this year.

The sale was announced on Sept. 16 but was subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) antitrust clearance. With the sale now final, Canon will be renamed UBM Canon, but otherwise no major changes are planned.

Canon acquired four leading trade publications—Design News, Electronic Design News (EDN), Packaging Digest, and Test & Measurement World—earlier this year, and we here in the plastics group are working closely with editors of those and the other Canon publications to help bring you the best information a worldwide network of seasoned journalists can provide.

UBM claims the acquisition makes it the leading worldwide provider of trade show and related media for the growing medical device design and manufacturing market and adjacent advanced manufacturing sectors such as plastics processing. We’ve always felt comfortable in a leadership position and look forward to maintaining and further developing it.
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