Education Resource of Post-Secondary Programs Addresses Critical Need in Industry
Seeing that the printing industry is in a current state of crisis about attracting skilled workers, SGIA, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association, has compiled an extensive resource that describes colleges, universities and technical schools throughout the country that offer post-secondary educational programs focused on the graphic arts industry. Printers who are looking for new talent can refer to this list as a tool to recruit new employees, to hire interns — and even just to become more aware of what programs exist within their geographic areas to aid future hiring initiatives.
SGIA has long recognized the important role educational institutions play in providing a skilled workforce to the trade and is committed to providing the resources necessary to ensure the future success of the printing industry.
Not only does the list of post-secondary education programs provide a valuable tool for employers looking for new employees, but it also helps potential students find the degree program that’s right for them and financial aid. Some of the initiatives that SGIA is also promoting through its SGIA Education Connection is its SGIA Scholarship Program and ASDPT Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition.
A Talk with SGIA’s Associate Manager, Education
Printing Impressions caught up with Erin Nuss, associate manager, education, at SGIA, to learn more about her role, her passion for the printing industry and the education initiatives that SGIA has to offer.
Nuss’ passion for the industry, she says, began when she was in high school. “I was really into art, pottery, drawing, painting, and I took a graphics class where we were exposing screens in a dark room. It was an eye-opening experience for me because, while I could create a graphic on the computer, to actually execute it and print a t-shirt, it was the most rewarding experience I ever had. From then on, I was convinced that I wanted to pursue graphic design or graphic communications.”
Nuss graduated from Millersville University of Pennsylvania with a B.S., Graphic Communication Technology. She served as an intern and a financial services account specialist at RR Donnelley before assuming her current position at SGIA in 2015.
Nuss facilitates communication with the association’s educators (and sometimes students) and assists in any requirements or needs that they may have. “This is why SGIA founded the scholarship program. It allows us to us to give back and help them out and make sure that their graphic communication program is successful. We're trying to keep the printing industry alive and succeeding.”
Nuss adds that SGIA hosts student tours, enabling them to visit and learn about lithography, digital inkjet and toner, screen, gravure, flexography and other printing processes. SGIA also has a complete screen printing lab onsite where the students can print their own t-shirts.
“Having this resource for students provides a platform where they can see how big of an impact print has on the world,” she relays.
The student awards from the ASDPT Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition are proudly displayed in the Golden Image Gallery at the SGIA Expo. The students have their own wall space, which is located in the same area as SGIA's printer entries for the Golden Image Competition.
"It's just really neat seeing all the student awards being hung with some of the SGIA printer members and watching attendees go around and thinking that they are looking at one of our printer’s entries but it's a student’s entry. Some of the quality is just unbelievable."
In addition, Nuss and a colleague also run the SkillsUSA national competition for screen printing and graphic imaging sublimation.
Having attended her first SkillsUSA competition, Nuss says she was blown away. “The students work so hard and are passionate about what they are doing. A lot of them don't even have the money to attend an event like that so we give them $250,” she explains. "It's really nice being able to give back and give these kids a chance to show off their skills and potentially walk away with a job or internship. Last year, a student winner received a job offer from one of our members."
Nuss says that in the fall, SGIA will be launching a new student membership that she is excited about. “Because teachers are busy, we thought it would be good to get in touch directly with the students — let them know about us, how we can help them with research projects, job placement, and even advice.”
To learn more about the ASDPT Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition, click here.