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Industry Focuses on Future at First Education Summit Meeting

Press release from the issuing company

More than 50 industry executives and educators met September 7 in Chicago during PRINT 01 to discuss cooperative action to recruit, educate and train the graphic communications workforce for today and tomorrow. The summit meeting was organized by the Print Media Academy and the Graphic Communications Council, an industry coalition of more than 100 associations, educational institutions and industry businesses. Bernhard Schreier, Chairman of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, keynoted the event. "An aggressive, innovative educational campaign will help position our industry for continued growth by increasing visibility and credibility and improving our image all of which will help us attract a new generation of highly skilled employees. At Heidelberg, we are listening to the marketplace. And what we're hearing is that our market is not made up of just printers or print buyers, but of students and potential students who will be the print buyers and industry leaders of tomorrow. We must reach these students and educate them about the graphic communications industry because they are the future," he said. "We all realize that general awareness of the print media industry is not as high as it should be," Schreier said, citing a recently article published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on the tight labor market and scarcity of skilled workers. The article stressed the premium that Atlanta-area employers are placing on workers with vocational and technical training, specifically mentioning several affected industries, but not the graphic arts and printing industry. "We have to change that and improve our recognition factor," Schreier said. "We have to find ways to take our success stories to the communities where we live, to high schools and colleges, to the press all geared toward raising awareness and creating an image that will boost not only our image but our recruitment and retention efforts as well. "We are innovators in digital imaging, computer technology, data management and the "brainware" behind cutting-edge solutions. We need to change minds about what the print industry is all about and to promote a positive, forward-looking image. That will, in turn, help with recruiting the skilled workers we need," he said. Schreier cited a number of areas where Heidelberg is active in education and training, including its support for the VICA Skills USA championships and an executive MBA program at Kennesaw State University. "Meetings like this one today are effective tools to help focus our attention on important initiatives and inspire us to come up with new ways to improve and expand our educational programs," Schreier said. "By pooling our ideas and resources and making a collective effort to develop innovative educational programs, we will ensure the future of the print industry and the future of the next generation of print industry leaders," he concluded. Schreier's address was followed by reports on industry initiatives in education and training. - Gerald A. Nathe, Chairman and CEO of Baldwin Technology Company and Chairman of the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation, described the Foundation's "Make Your Mark" campaign to distribute industry information to 65,000 high school teachers and guidance counselors, as well as GAERF's grants, training and accreditation programs. - Lawrence Warter, Director, New Business Opportunities, Fuji Photo Film USA and Chairman of the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation, reported on the Campaign for the 21st Century to build a $20 million endowment. - Kenneth Garner, President of United Litho and Chairman of the National Association for Printing Leadership, described NAPL's role in supporting recruiting and education, announcing a new Print Grad Initiative which will provide complimentary membership in NAPL and an online forum to graduates of major printing industry education programs. - Randolph Camp, President and CEO of Walton Graphic Media and Chairman of Printing Industries of America, introduced PIA's new mentoring program "Make-Ready for a New Generation." - Michael Green, Vice President and General Manager, Flint Ink, described the programs of the Gravure Education Foundation, including scholarships and grants, partnerships with colleges and universities, and a technical writing contest for students. - Dr. Richard Grim, Professor of Graphic Arts at College of the Ozarks and President of the International Graphic Arts Education Association, reported on the organization's work with teachers. The program closed with recommendations for developing a framework for ongoing cooperation, presented by Dr. Lee Weir, professor at Clemson University, and Larry Kroll, Vice President at Heidelberg USA. Weir is the immediate past chairman and Kroll is current chairman of the Graphic Communications Council. Next steps will include a database of industry initiatives which will be posted on the Graphic Comm Central web site with links to appropriate industry sites; a monthly e-update on the initiatives; an e-exchange on industry needs in the area of education, training and recruiting, and an annual summit meeting and/or exhibit at industry trade shows A full set of the summit presentations will be displayed on the industry education web site Graphic Comm Central at http://teched.vt.edu/gcc.

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