NEENAH, Wis. — A Fox Valley company has an inspiring solution to the workforce challenges facing state businesses.
Employees at Lakeside Packaging Plus may have some limitations, but they show the community they have no boundaries in fulfilling their wish to work.
What You Need To Know
- Lakeside was established in 1962 by parents of children with diverse abilities
- More than 300 associates strong, Lakeside is a trusted partner for area businesses
- Lakeside has two facilities in Neenah and Oshkosh
Matthew Halbach wears a determined grin to work every day. He has worked at Lakeside Packaging Plus for nearly two decades.
“I started in 2004. So, I’ve been very fortunate. I do folding. I’ll do cutlery silverware. I will do, I will make our boxes,” Halbach said.
Halbach loves what he does at work. Some days he performs light production, like preparing individually wrapped cutlery kits. Other days he does hand assembly like folding papers and putting them in boxes for area businesses.
“I am actually very good at it. And all the bosses know that if I’m on it there’s no stopping me,” he said.
Halbach is one of Lakeside’s 300 employees with diverse physical and mental abilities. He said working at this company gives him confidence and teaches him to overcome challenges.
“I really like coming into work because I like meeting new people, new bosses, new clients. Sometimes I’m a little shy, but I always get out of my comfort zone,” Halbach said.
Building confidence is one of the company goals said Lakeside COO Jennifer Ven Rooy. Parents of children with special needs founded the company in 1962 because their kids needed meaningful projects and day services.
Ven Rooy said over the years their number of workers has increased and she’s proud of her associates’ continued eagerness to work.
“It’s really amazing. Seeing everyone learn all the skills that they do, you know, while they’re here in our production floor,” Ven Rooy said. “As they build their skills, they build their confidence, they are able to go and meet with community employers and establish those jobs.”
Ven Rooy said it’s her workforce’s wide range of abilities that help create a special warmth inside this warehouse.
“That inclusivity that is within Lakeside is special because we all get to learn about each other and what we are able to do,” Ven Rooy said. “I think the more that we find, we work together, the more we find that we’re more alike than we are different.”
That encouraging environment is why Matt Kundinger said he’s worked at Lakeside for more than 10 years.
“I love working with them. They make me happy every single day. It’s a great place to work. I love it here. I love the jobs here,” Kundinger said.
Whether it’s dedication or overcoming challenges, Lakeside Packaging Plus helps create meaningful work that impacts the lives of the community and its enthusiastic workforce.
“Coming to work is like working in the community. You don’t know where you’re going to go or who you’re going to meet,” Halbach said.