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Labor Department Updates O*Net with Printing Industry Job Descriptions

Press release from the issuing company

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor updated its O*Net website (www.onetonline.org) with printing industry job descriptions and titles supplied by industry representatives. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is the nation's primary source of occupational information, ultimately determining funding for career and technical education programs.

Printing industry representatives from the Education Summit, which held its first meeting in 2007 and is sponsored by the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF), completed the effort initiated by Mountain States Printing Education Foundation nearly a decade ago to get the Labor Department to update the printing industry titles and job descriptions in the O*NET website and its Standard Occupational Classification system. NPES, the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF), and Printing Industries of America also contributed significantly to the project.

Ted Ringman, vice president of development for PGSF says, "The O*NET updates for the printing industry cover the areas of prepress, press, and bindery. The revised information will give students and educators a more realistic view of industry job titles and typical job duties and requirements."


By Howie Fenton on Jul 19, 2011

Check out the O*Net site! Houston we have a problem!

I went to the O*Net Site and started looking around and from what I can find it only focuses on traditional offset operators. I typed the word "printing" into the search box and the first three hits were for Printing Machine Operators (relevance score 100), Prepress Technicians and Workers (score 66), and Job Printers (score 54).

Looking into each of these categories the tasks, tools and technology, knowledge, skills, abilities, work activities, and work context all focus on offset printing. Obviously there is nothing wrong in listing jobs focusing on offset printing, but in an industry where offset pages are declining and digital pages are increasing should there be some mention of digital printing opportunities?

For example under Printing Machine Operators and tasks it says "Select and install printing plates, rollers, feed guides, gauges, screens, stencils, type, dies, and cylinders in machines according to specifications, using hand tools." Under Tools & Technology it lists "Printing presses — Multicolor presses; Sheetfed presses; Web presses"

I don't think there is anything wrong with listing opportunities for offset printing operators, but my question is: Should there also be updated information about jobs for digital press operators or large format devices?

Howie Fenton, NAPL


By Ed Danielczyk on Jul 19, 2011

Howie makes many excellent points in his comment. As we all know, offset and digital solutions are complementary and are selected based upon numerous applications factors. As we try to grow the number of resources to support the future printing industry that will consist of both technology solutions, we need to make sure training programs exist to support educating the workforce in both areas. What becomes problematic with the Dept of Labor’s offset only job description is the impact it has and will have on Career and Technical Education High School programs who are teaching graphic communications to our future workforce. Funding for equipment in these programs is tested against the potential job opportunities that exist or will exist for their graduates. One area that is approached for supporting data is the Dept of Labor. When a director of a graphic communication programs seeks funding for digital equipment to incorporate within the program, there will be little factual information relating to the numerous jobs that are digital press oriented. As an industry we must collectively collaborate to ensure we have a future workforce that is skilled in both offset and digital technologies.


By Clint Bolte on Jul 20, 2011

Ted and his gang of industry volunteers issued a good beginning and step up from what existed. What the Feds had listed came out of the hot metal and letterpress era if you can believe that.

While digital skills are an obvious additional factor, I might suggest that mailing and fulfillment skills and positions would also be vital add ons. There could be more than a dozen distinctly unique IT-based jobs classified as well.

Thanks for herding these cats, Ted. Keep plugging away.


By Raymond Prince on Jul 20, 2011

Washington is Washington. After telling us the new job descritptions will be posted - well as you can guess there is now a delay. When actually posted there will be another release.

We printers never give up.


By Howie Fenton on Jul 21, 2011

Thanks Ray,

It sounds like BLS is working on updating the jobs and will release more up to date versions later this year. Its good to know they are aware of the problem and working on it.



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