Heidelberg Opens Technology Center to SkillsUSA Georgia Graphic Communications and Ad Design Competitors
KENNESAW, GA—March 26, 2014—For the seventh year running, Heidelberg USA hosted the annual SkillsUSA Georgia Training Day and competition in Advertising and Design and Graphic Communications at its North American Print and Packaging Technology Center (NAPPTC) in Kennesaw, GA, March 13-14. The Printing and Imaging Association of Georgia (PIAG) partnered with Heidelberg USA to sponsor the event, for which Heidelberg USA also loaned the use of three Printmaster QM 46 presses.
PIAG’s Educational Foundation awarded $2000 in scholarships to the first-, second-, and third-place winners. A grant from the organization also will enable first place contestants and their advisors to advance to the national SkillsUSA competition June 23-27 in Kansas City, MO. National champions are invited to compete in the WorldSkills International competition, held each fall in different locations around the globe. Heidelberg USA donates the use of five Printmaster QM 46 presses for the national competition, as well as providing the staff to train and then conduct the competition itself.
The SkillsUSA Georgia competition featured both advertising design and graphic communications components. All 23 students completed a job interview and written skills assessment. The 15 advertising design competitors were then given three hours to compose a logo and advertisement for a fictitious electric bicycle company. In addition to the job interview and written skills assessment, the eight graphic communications students were required to demonstrate their competency in four key areas: prepress, four-color offset printing, and finishing (folding), as well as digital printing (output and simple VDP). Representatives of Ricoh Americas conducted training and assessment for the latter, using a Heidelberg Linoprint digital press. Following a preliminary first-day training session, all this year’s graphic communications winners received above average scores in all six categories.
Following a trial run last year, digital printing also will become an official competency in the 2014 National SkillsUSA competition, for which Ricoh Americas has agreed to donate the use of five Ricoh-branded digital presses.
Winners in the graphic communications competition include:
- First place: Breanne Thompson, Central Educational Center, Newman, GA
- Second place: Rhett Hamm, Lowndes High School, Valdosta, GA
- Third place: Christopher Mumpower, R.W. Johnson High School, Gainesville, GA
Winners in the advertising and design competition include:
- First place: Tatiana Jorge, Effingham College and Career Academy, Rincon, GA
- Second place: Veronika Zwicke, McIntosh High School, Peachtree City, GA
- Third place: Tiauana Smith, Albany High School, Albany, GA
International Paper and Sappi Fine Paper America agreed to donate several thousand dollars worth of paper for both the SkillsUSA Georgia and upcoming SkillsUSA national competitions.
Eyes on the Prize
“Heidelberg USA is proud to sponsor the SkillsUSA Georgia graphic communications and advertising design competitions,” said Susan Nofi, senior vice president of human resources at Heidelberg USA. “Year after year, we continue to be amazed at the level of know-how and enthusiasm displayed by these talented young students and their devoted teachers. Of the many events for which Heidelberg donates the use of its North American Print and Packaging Technology Center each year, the SkillsUSA Georgia competition is among the most inspiring and rewarding because it gives us an opportunity to support the next generation of graphic arts professionals who will drive our industry forward. We certainly encourage these students to pursue their goals into higher education and the workforce.”
Kip Jarrett, field service representative for Heidelberg USA and chair of Graphic Communications at SkillsUSA, also noted: “At both the state and national levels, SkillsUSA competitions give students rare exposure to the practical applications of graphic communications technology. The hands-on experience they receive breaks down their fear of the unknown and helps them zero in on areas of special interest for their post-secondary education or career. For students and teachers alike, participation in events like SkillsUSA is invaluable in helping raise the profile of the printing professions and prepare our next generation workforce.”
“Heidelberg effectively prioritizes its support for graphic arts training and education to counter the shortage of technically skilled operators and lack of funding and career guidance,” said Randy Camp, president of PIAG. “PIAG takes a like-minded approach, offering programs, services and resources to promote the growth and profitability of Georgia’s printing and imaging industry. The annual SkillsUSA Georgia competition affords Heidelberg and PIAG an opportunity to cooperate in advancing those goals by encouraging our industry’s youngest proponents.”
SkillsUSA-VICA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupation education. It conducts the annual SkillsUSA Championships to recognize the achievements of vocational students and encourage them to excel.
Heidelberg backs up its commitment to graphic arts education with donations of facilities, equipment, money and expertise to the next generation of graphic arts employees while they are still in school. In February, students from Georgia Southern University’s Graphic Communications Department were invited to spend a half-day touring the North American Print and Packaging Technology Center in Kennesaw, GA.
On April 17, 35 members of Clemson University’s Graphic Communications advanced “GC 440” class, which focuses on commercial printing with an emphasis on sheetfed offset technology, will visit the Technology Center in Kennesaw. To personalize the experience for the “440” students, Clemson and Heidelberg will structure the field trip around the production of an eight-page, four-color book, a student project that is also a major requirement of the 440 curriculum. Students will follow a selected book project from prepress to the bindery, getting a first-hand look at the processes involved in its transformation from digital file to saddle-stitched book. Along the way, students will hear from Heidelberg prepress, press and postpress experts, as well as from specialists in MIS and packaging.
The purpose of field trips like these is to give students the opportunity to experience a live production environment complete with integrated workflow and the latest printing technology.
Heidelberg’s dedication to career awareness informs other areas of its business. The company takes on a series of student interns in its Marketing Communications and Creative Services Departments every year. Since 2001, a total of 78 student interns in Heidelberg’s Marketing Department alone, have gained valuable insight and practical experience by working closely with Heidelberg technical experts, product managers and other personnel to learn the business from the inside out. Although Heidelberg internships are open to matriculating students at colleges and universities nationwide, about 90 percent of Heidelberg interns are enrolled in Clemson University’s Graphic Communications program.
Heidelberg’s involvement with Clemson University also extends to support for Dr. John Leininger's Creative Inquiry class, which recently developed an advertising campaign for a local business. Heidelberg printed the project. Heidelberg also provides free service support for the Advanced Graphic Communications Lab at Clemson University, including training a new member of its technical support staff.
Heidelberg USA’s broader support of U.S. graphic communications industry education also includes an annual donation to a general fund administered by the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF); and donations in kind to Graphic Communication departments at universities and high schools nationwide. Heidelberg executives are proud to devote their time and resources to the Board of the PGSF and the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications, as well as to other universities across the country.