With the world of print being ever so unique and developing constantly, it is essential to the success of the industry that it continue to attract students. On Oct. 22, Heidelberg USA graciously opened the doors of its Print Media Academy to welcome and educate the next generation of young people contemplating a career in the graphic arts. The event—named “Fit to Print”—proved to be extremely successful, and I would like to share my experiences.
As the day began, more than 150 high school and college students from across the Southeast poured into the Print Media Academy demo center, where they were welcomed by the expert staff of the world’s second largest printing demonstration facility.
The event kicked off with introductions from Heidelberg executives and Cindy Woods, senior vice president of marketing at NAPL. Woods set the tone of the event by sharing her own personal story of entering the industry and made it clear to the students that, “If we don’t have you, we won’t have a future.”
As I scanned the crowd of students reviewing the “Fit to Print” itinerary cards, I could see in their faces that they were eager to get started. The event was comprised of four different learning modules for both the high school and college levels. During each session, students heard from Heidelberg experts on a wide variety of topics—ranging from prepress and color management to lean manufacturing, packaging and MIS.
During the lunch break, seating was arranged so that the college students sat with high school students, allowing them to share their advice and knowledge on scholarships, classes, majors, interests and other relevant information. I spoke with numerous high school students who shared with me their interest in printing, as well as the passion they have for operating their schools’ two-color offset presses. During the press overview and demo later that afternoon, I had the pleasure of watching these students’ jaws drop as they were blown away seeing Heidelberg’s top-of-the-line XL 105 press take full flight.
At the end of the day, Heidelberg organized an extremely helpful session for high school students focused on college and scholarship information. Speakers from local colleges shared details of their graphic arts programs. Also, the “goodie” bag given to every student as they left contained helpful scholarship information to help them make the initial step toward pursuing a graphic arts education.
Overall, I was greatly impressed with Heidelberg putting on such a class act event for the students. I could see it in the kids’ faces as they walked out the door that they left inspired and excited about the printing industry as a career choice. I believe that the graphic arts industry has a bright future and, thanks to “Fit To Print,” Heidelberg is helping to develop and inspire the people who will one day lead and contribute to its success.
|During the event, the winners of the Fit to Print poster contest were announced. Two schools were each awarded $2,000 worth of Saphira consumables from Heidelberg and paper from Unisource for their winning posters that promote a printing education. The schools were Walton High School in Marietta, GA (right) and Clemson University.