ABOUT THE PULP & PAPER INDUSTRY
Throughout the world, over 300 million tons of paper-based products were manufactured and used last year. The United States is the biggest manufacturer and user of paper and paper-based products and used a third – about 100 million tons – of the amount produced world-wide. World-wide paper production was valued at $500 billion. In the United States, 450 manufacturing facilities produced products valued at nearly $2 billion. Around 150,000 persons were directly employed by the industry, creating a payroll approaching $10 billion. It is estimated that the pulp and paper industry is the tenth largest employer in these United States.
As significant as the impact of the paper industry is on the economy in the United States, it should be noted that the paper industry is facing fierce global competition. Last year, over one-third of the paper consumed was imported – primarily from mills in Asia and Malaysia – and paper exports are but a fraction of imports. South America is rapidly becoming a world force in paper manufacture and sales as well. In order to preserve our position in pulp and paper, the United States paper industry has developed a strategic initiative that focuses on the key factors that can help move the industry to a more technologically advanced and globally competitive position. One of these initiatives is the development of a “technologically advantaged workforce.” This calls for mill workers to be better educated – an employee attribute considered to be critically necessary for improved efficiencies in light of modern technology and the need to be globally competitive. The goal of KVCC is to educate and to develop employees – and future employees – who are truly technologically advantaged.
The State of Maine has over 13 mills and employs over 8500, who are working in some of the highest paying jobs in the state.