RESTON, VA, May 24, 2007 -- The forecast for print is digital – and the outlook is bright! Digital presses, digital workflows and other digital applications are being installed today at a record pace in commercial print shops, educational institutions and government offices nationwide. And, with an estimated 54,000 digital presses expected to be sold between 2006 and 2011, the market for digital promises to remain strong for the foreseeable future.
However, far less certain for the future is the assurance of a knowledgeable workforce, as graphic communications industry employers struggle to fill jobs with employees who are competent in this new technology.
Responding to this challenge, representatives from the GAERF Board of Directors, the PrintED Advisory Committee and several digital print manufacturing leaders from Xerox, Punch Graphix, Kodak and Hewlett Packard met in October 2006, during GRAPH EXPO & CONVERTING EXPO, with a mission: to prepare today's students for tomorrow's careers in the fast-growing and dynamic digital printing industry. Together they determined the skills set that would be required to prepare students for entry-level jobs in this venue. The result -- PrintED's eighth area of accreditation, Digital Production Printing -- was created.
The other seven accreditation areas of PrintED include:
Introduction to Graphic Communications
Digital File Preparation
Offset Press Operations
Binding & Finishing
Digital File Output
Advanced Offset Press Operations
Advanced Digital File Preparation
GAERF is aware that to be successful in training students to work effectively in a digitally- focused printing environment, it is essential to keep in mind that there is diversity in equipment. The Foundation's job is to teach concepts and competencies that ensure that the student is able to operate any vendor's digital press. Maintaining vendor-neutrality is of paramount importance in this new initiative.
“As our industry changes, an entirely new and vibrant job market is opening up for individuals possessing the appropriate skills set,” added Randolph W. Camp, GAERF Chairman and CEO of Walton Media Services in Monroe, GA. “Our collective success hinges on educating tomorrow's workforce today.”
The digital production printing competencies will be distributed in September 2007, along with a curriculum to teach those competencies. Next steps include the development of an accompanying certification examination.
“GAERF is committed to addressing the #1 challenge that will profoundly impact our industry's future, the availability of a skilled and dedicated workforce,” stated Ralph J. Nappi, GAERF President. “This new area of accreditation is an important milestone toward achieving our goal.”
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