ISRI Sets Sights on Developing Workforce for Recycling Industry

Today’s Industry Voices was written by Olga Zamora, ISRI’s Vice President of Human Resources. Zamora has been with ISRI for seven years, and has more than 30 years of workforce experience, mostly with associations.

As companies and industries across the U.S. continue to experience an unprecedented workforce shortage, the need for workforce development has never been more apparent. ISRI has developed a workforce development working group to address this issue within the recycling industry. Additionally, ISRI’s Vice President of Sustainability Cheryl Coleman developed and is spearheading ISRI’s Sustainability Career Pathways Program in conjunction with several ISRI members.

The Sustainability Career Pathways Program will offer paid fellowship, internship, and apprenticeship opportunities starting in June 2022 to current students and recent graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), community colleges, and trade schools. As Pathway participants, students will be fully immersed in the career opportunities the recycling industry has to offer at one of our participating member company facilities. Students from these educational institutions are all untapped resources that can help fill numerous positions across the recycling industry.

When you talk about sustainability, circular economies, and the environment, recycling is in the midst of it all. Throughout our industry, we offer career options in these areas, whether it’s in manufacturing practices, being a critical part of the supply chain, or being environmentally responsible for the health and protection of our planet and future generations. The work we do every day makes a huge difference to everyone. That’s something to be proud of AND be a part of.

To assure our continued relevance, we need to pivot and adjust to the needs of a global economy. That requires an investment in diverse thought, equity in our policies, and inclusion as seeing and being a part of a larger whole. The recycling industry is fully invested in this concept and looks toward continuous improvement in all its operations to be a positive source for the greater good.