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Commentary & Analysis

Educating the Employed


By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: September 5, 2006

- Special Feature Educating the Employed By Pete Rivard September 5, 2006 -- We've once again arrived at that time of year when students return to school. My particular institution's academic year begins on September 6th, but my commute past some of the local four-year universities makes it plain that many are already in session. Learning is a two-way street and I always leave smarter than when I arrived Though unencumbered by students and scheduled classes during the summer months, I was well occupied, in part, in corporate training, a division of the school dedicated to educating the already employed. Our corporate trainers' mission is to fan out into the marketplace, find out what those who are already working for a living need to know, and see that learning is delivered. There are two incentives for participating in this extracurricular training. The first is money, and may I be forever spared from working for anybody who believes that money is not an effective incentive. It works for me. The second is the educational value of being able to leave the campus and spend time in real workplaces where the learning is anything but theoretical and the need for constant self-improvement and corporate wide improvement is essential. And, as usual, the learning is two-way, as I invariably depart smarter than when I arrived. Who knew there was such a thing as a sexy bindery device? A few weeks back I had the pleasure of visiting a local commercial print shop that is transitioning from an all-offset service to a mixed offset and digital operation. The VP of Sales for the digital division, which is anchored by two iGens, reported that in the two plus years since the first iGen was installed, revenues from the digital side had grown to 30 percent of the company's total, and provided 50 percent of the profits. I was also introduced there to the Duplo SCC (slitter/cutter/creaser) and I now have, to my total amazement and disbelief, lust in my heart for a piece of finishing equipment. Who knew there was such a thing as a sexy bindery device? You learn something new every day, if you're not careful. This summer's corporate training projects have ranged from one-on-one training of a color specialist with a photo studio background in the nuances of the pressroom; process control improvement in a flexographic operation; and upper management level training of a large corporation which features variable data and digital print as just one of its many services. The color specialist's new job requires her to understand subject matter such as Total Ink Coverage, GCR vs. UCR, and production standards such as SWOP and GraCOL. The flexographic company is after reducing waste and increasing profitability and customer confidence. The upper management of the large corporation sees value in experiencing the types of activity happening everyday within their own company from something other than the 80,000 foot level. The common thread is that continual learning is vital. The common thread in each of these projects is the acceptance by our corporate training clients that continual learning is vital, from the executive offices to the production floor. No one can expect to saddle up their degree or diploma and ride it all the way to retirement. Anyone's career these days is more akin to a Pony Express route, where several horses are ridden till there's nothing left in them, and the rider has to obtain regular fresh mounts along the way to reach the goal. Anyone disinclined to secure that fresh mount will find himself walking ("Shank's Mare", as my Irish forebears glibly dubbed it) as the competition gallops out of sight. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to contact the Duplo corporation and educate them in what a fine thing, for them, it would be to install one of their SCC's in an academic setting.



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