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LMI Packaging With dual aims of supporting area businesses experiencing talent shortages and providing students with well-paid jobs to help cover college expenses, Carthage and locally based LMI Packaging launched a strategic partnership to benefit both parties.

“Seeing the full-time minimum wage rising in Kenosha, I thought that we should cultivate employers who can pay our working students substantially more than they earn in retail or hospitality,” says Carthage President John Swallow. “LMI was first to sign on, and now participating students effectively earn over $15 an hour, including tuition benefits, while gaining valuable experience.”

LMI, located 10 miles from campus in Pleasant Prairie, pays an hourly base wage and contributes additional scholarship funding. To help maintain a year-round presence, Carthage provides campus housing for students during the summer so they can continue to work. LMI respects students’ needs to prioritize academics alongside their job during the school year. Since its launch last year, the program has doubled in size from 10 to 20 students.

“I have learned so much about being a team player, while getting the autonomy to do my own tasks in the warehouse and ink room,” says Hanna Travis ’23, who also helps recruit students to the partnership program. “I get a lot of freedom at LMI to think of new ways to make the company more productive.”

LMI also offers students experiences that more closely align with their career plans, and gives students access to company leaders and opportunities for growth with the company. Many students have been promoted from working the warehouse floor of the facility to other positions within the company.

“We make sure the students obtain a meaningful experience at LMI and other partner organizations,” says Carolyn Serdar, interim executive director of career and professional development. “The Aspire team visits workplaces to understand more about available opportunities and support provided for students to balance their campus life with off-campus positions.”

Carthage launched a similar partnership with Colbert Packaging in October 2021 and is actively seeking additional partnerships. Do you know a local business that would be interested in such a partnership? Contact Carolyn Serdar by email or phone 262-551-5934 for more information.