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Governor Wolf highlights Greiner Packaging’s Apprenticeship Program with LCCC


Pittston, PA — Zubair Bin Abdul Waahid is an 18-year-old student at Luzerne County Community College.But the Pittston resident is also part of a “new, innovative” workforce, according to Gov. Tom Wolf.


Wolf was highlighting the GOLD Apprentice Program during a stop at Greiner Packaging Corp. on his “Jobs that Pay Tour.” The program partners Greiner with Luzerne County Community College to allow college students to receive paychecks and on-the-job training.


Gov. Tom speaks during discussion at Greiner Packaging in Pittston on Wednesday afternoon.


“It’s taught me responsibility and the skills I will need throughout my career,” Waahid said of the program.


Waahid and Paul Smith, 19, of Dallas, are the first two participants in the three-year program.


David Kirkland, president at Greiner Packaging USA, said the company will add two more apprentices in the fall and will look to add up to four more in 2018.


Waahid said both his high school principal and law teacher told him about the program. Though he missed an open house, he went on a tour with the company’s human resources manager and drew up a resume the next day. After three interviews, he was awarded the position.


Waahid and Smith will graduate LCCC with a degree in mechatronics — technology combining electronics and mechanical engineering.


As part of the program, Smith and Waahid will learn different aspects of working at Greiner. During their third year in the program and beyond, they will be the men to fix the high-tech state-of-the-art machines at the plant.


“Two years ago people were saying we need jobs, now it’s we need skills,” Wolf said.


Kirkland said the company was having a tough time finding a workforce. He added the initial two years per apprentice is a “big commitment.”

“It’s a journey,” Kirkland described. “A big step forward, if you will.”


Because Waahid and Smith work 28 hours a week at Greiner but receive paychecks for a 40-hour week, Kirland admits the company’s bottom line is taking a hit. But he and Wolf hope Waahid and Smith will find a path to company success.


“They have a ready-for-them job (after school),” Wolf said.


The Governor’s Action Team recruited the company from Austria. The company has been producing packaging, such as cardboard boxes and yogurt cups, in Pittston since October 2014.


Waahid and Smith are joining a company culture with “endless opportunities,” including the possibility of being sent to Europe to learn internal company skills. Kirkland said a “common thing” in the European division of the company is workers who spend 30 to 40 years working at the company in all different types of jobs.



Mizenko, Melanie. "Wolf touts Pittston plant’s partnership with Luzerne County Community College." Times Leader. Times Leader, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017. <>.

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