Sewickley, PA., October 10, 2007 -- The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF) hosted the informative and insightful Education Summit at GRAPH EXPO. More than one hundred passionate and interested people attended. The session was moderated by Raymond J. Prince, vice president and senior consultant at NAPL, and featured ten speakers (see list below) representing different aspects of the print and graphic communications industry. The session was sponsored by Fuji Graphic Systems, Heidelberg, Komori, and Ray Prince.
The speakers shared their different perspectives on the workforce predicament, each offering at least two of their ideas on how to combat the problem. It is clear that most young people think printing is staid and dirty, and that can't change until the industry can come together with a common plan.
"Many argue our image issue is exacerbated by career counselors who point young people in directions other than printing. While the printing industry remains one of the last bastions of family enterprise…it is not uncommon to hear entrepreneurs say they would like to see their children pursue careers outside the industry," stated Michael Makin, president and CEO of PIA/GATF. He continued, "If the battle can be won, it must be done where the rubber meets the road-at the local level, with business leaders working hand-in-hand with educators to apprise young people of the wonderful opportunities a career in print can provide."
"No other industry, no matter how technologically focused, can prosper without an influx of viable employees," said Tim Fischer, vice president of finances and member service of NAPL. Larry Kroll, vice president of print media relations for Heidelberg USA noted, "We are losing the battle to attract the best and brightest talent available, and it's the job of everyone in this room to change that."
Some of the specific ideas noted by the various speakers for improving printing's image and attracting more young, skilled professionals included:
Reaching Generation Y in places they congregate (including social networking sites and the Second Life online virtual world)
Using association lobbyists to change the U.S. Department of Labor's outdated descriptions and classifications of the industry's segments
Convincing more companies about the value of contributing scholarship money
Working with local economic development leaders to spend technology-earmarked money to aid print education
"We need a 'Got Milk?' campaign that boosts awareness of the power of print and makes it exciting," proclaimed Doug Yeager, assistant chairman and COO of Alcom Printing Group.
"This event is just the beginning," noted Ray Prince in his summation. With the many ideas presented and broad support, PGSF will develop a plan for moving forward.
For more information or to get involved in promoting the printing industry to young people, contact Ted Ringman, vice president of development for PGSF, at 847-382-9103 or [email protected]
, or Bernie Eckert, PGSF Program Administrator, at 412-259-1740 or [email protected]
Education Summit Speakers:
Ben Cooper, Principal, Williams & Jensen, PLLC, Washington, DC, representing the Print Council
Tim Fischer, VP and Chief Operating Officer of NAPL, Paramus, NJ
Dean Flowers, Associate Dean, Waukesha County Technical College, Pewaukee, WI, representing two-year programs
Patrick Klarecki, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, representing four-year programs
Larry Kroll, VP Training, Heidelberg USA Incorporated, Kennesaw, GA, representing SkillsUSA
Michael Makin, President and CEO, PIA/GATF, Sewickley, PA
Brian Regan, COO, Sempter International. LLC, Boston, MA, representing employment agencies
Michael Stinnett, PrintEd Instructor, Royal Oak HS, Royal Oak, MI, representing Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF)
Larry Warter, Director New Business Development, Fuji Graphic Systems, representing PGSF
Doug Yeager, COO, Alcom Printing Group Inc., Harleysville, PA, representing printers