Fall 2012 Research Update: Education Needs in the Forest Products Industry

Omar Espinoza, Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota
Robert Smith, Associate Dean and Professor at Virginia Tech

As part of the University of Minnesota’s Forest Products Management Development Institute service to its members and the industry in general, and in collaboration with Virginia Tech’s Center for Forest Products Business, a study of educational needs in the Forest Products Industry was conducted in the summer of 2012. This document summarizes the results from the study and compares the educational needs of forest products companies in Minnesota and Virginia.

Table 1. Participant’s type of business and size.

During May-July of 2012, a web survey was conducted concurrently in Minnesota and Virginia to assess the educational needs of the Forest Products Industry. In total, 73 companies participated in Minnesota and 101 in Virginia. Participants belonged to many subsectors, ranging from lumber manufacturers and distributors, to secondary manufacturers, such as producers of kitchen cabinets and millwork.  Company demographics of respondents are presented in Table 1. A 15-item questionnaire was developed and tested. The final version contained the following sections: demographic information (primary business, number of employees, number of facilities, and type of product distribution), business management factors (major factors for business, strategic plan, the major performance measures used, product development), training needs (business factors, greatest training need, training delivery method, current training providers), and one open question for comments. Following the survey, executives in 19 companies were interviewed to verify and expand on the results from the survey.

To read the complete research update, please follow this link.