Hope for the Industry’s Future

I was contacted recently by a young woman who is getting ready to graduate from college. Get this…She is a PRINT MAJOR! How cool is that? I guess I knew that there were schools where you could actually study print technology, but here was a real live 22-year-old person who has staked her entire future on our industry. I was THRILLED. So here are the takeaways from this…

YOU SHOULD CONSIDER HIRING THESE PEOPLE.—They are young, technologically savvy and passionate about print. What more could you want in a new hire for your company? This woman is already interviewing with companies like CGX and SGS.

She has over two months until graduation, and will likely have landed a job and be moving to the Chicagoland area right after she graduates. This is an impressively proactive young woman, and one of the few who, statistically, will not be moving home to live with Mom and Dad “until the economy improves.” I am feeling better and better about our future just thinking about her.

SOCIAL NETWORKING WORKS!!!—This person found me on Girls Who Print, a group on LinkedIn. (Mad props to MaryBeth Smith who started Girls Who Print. I’ve never met her, but “talk” to her on various forums and groups frequently and hope that one day I will meet her face to face.)

I know I sometimes sound like a broken record when I talk to you about social networking, but IT IS WORTH IT. Get on LinkedIn if you haven’t. If you have, use it more—you will learn, meet people and get your problems solved, all in a co-opetitional setting (that means part competition, part cooperation). We ALL want to see print succeed and thrive, so we all owe energy into this bucket. We will all win, if we all play.

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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  • http://JonCroft Jon Croft


    I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated your article. As a semi-recent print grad myself (Class of ’07), I found your support of the younger print professionals insightful and refreshing.

    Clemson University in South Carolina has an incredibly strong print program (one of the best in the nation) under the Graphic Communications major. By the time a student graduates, they have run presses, stripped images, designed art, studied color theory, and been involved in a myriad of other experiences with a very dedicated staff.

    Of course, there is always RIT and Cal Poly, but my experiences at Clemson were spectacular.

    Best Regards,
    Jon Croft

  • http://SueTappy,ManagerHumanResources,Multi-ColorCorp Sue Tappy, Manager Human Resources, Multi-Color Corp

    Clemson University offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Packaging Science and University of Wisconsin-Stout offers a Packaging degree. There are just two more in addition to the schools you have mentioned.

  • http://CoreyGustafson Corey Gustafson


    This article was relieving for an upcoming graduate from University of Wisconsin-Stout in the Graphic Communications Management program. We have a hands-on program that incorporates printing technology with business fundamentals. Our campus is heavily recruited by some of the biggest printing names out there and I believe that comes from our program and it’s dedication to giving back to the industry.

    Our classes are constantly changing depending on trends and technology in the industry, since we all know that technology and innovation has been driving this industry. You are absolutely right about social networking, it’s a great way to connect with people who you could never meet in any other way.

    I appreciate it!

    Corey Gustafson

  • http://lizzyzinn lizzy zinn

    Rochester Institute of Technology…go Tigers!!!

  • http://CarrieGrove Carrie Grove

    Hi Kelly,
    So happy to read this story! I graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in printing management way back in 1989! Loved it then and still love the printing industry now. The great thing is that technology keeps us all on our toes and that makes for a very interesting career in my opinion!

    Carrie Grove
    TPI Solutions Ink

  • http://Kelly Kelly

    Follow up to this post…I just got a note from my protege – she has accepted a job here in Chicagoland, so I’m hoping to meet her in person. And congrats to a college graduate that will NOT be moving home with Mom and Dad. Yay printing!

  • http://Matthias Matthias

    Be sure to check out Cal Poly San Luis Obispo! I recently graduated with a BS in Graphic Communication, all we do is study print! I love it.