Youth in Print Scholarship: The Industry's 'Best Kept Secret' for the Future of Print
It’s no secret that the printing industry, like many traditional businesses, is facing an aging of its top graphic communications professionals, necessitating an increased focus on the next generation who must fill their shoes. To address this critical concern, in 1997 the Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation (EDSF) began offering scholarships to students interested in the printing industry with an eye toward the expanding career opportunities that are now available.
“The industry is changing so dynamically; there are new skillsets involved,” explains Brenda Kai, executive director of EDSF, “and we need to make sure that the breadth of opportunities available is made clear to our scholarship candidates.”
With this in mind, in 2015, NAPCO Media — the parent company of Printing Impressions — partnered with EDSF to create the Youth in Print Scholarship. The scholarship was developed to both identify and support students interested not only in the conventional and digital printing production and sales sides of the industry, but other aspects too, such as database and Web page management, information technology and e-commerce (including cross-media marketing campaigns, graphic design and management), just to name a few career paths.
“One of the main goals of Youth in Print is to ensure that students looking at careers in print understand how wide-reaching the industry is,” Kai says. “It’s so much more than just print, and we really wanted to emphasize the ‘youth’ aspect of the scholarship. ”
Requirements Recipients Must Meet
Full-time students with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA, who are attending an accredited university and are interested in pursuing a career in the printing industry, can apply for the $2,000 scholarship.
The Scholarship Selection Committee not only considers candidates who excel academically, but also seeks to identify well-rounded students who participate in extracurricular activities and who are involved in the community. Students are then invited to reapply each year, with the expectation that they meet the same requirements every year, ensuring that only the most dedicated students are rewarded with the scholarship benefits.
An additional benefit for contributors to the program is that it is one of the best ways to recruit some of the brightest minds entering the industry. When students graduate, their résumes are received by EDSF and then sent to key sponsors like supporters of Youth in Print and EDSF board members, who can follow up with potential job candidates. This gives these sponsors and EDSF board members the first opportunity to hire some of these very talented individuals. As an example, each year, EDSF takes four scholarship students to Graph Expo to expose them to industry leaders and vice versa. The students are able to meet with the board of directors and explain to attendees what EDSF means to them at the “Give Back @ Graph” night.
“I would hire every single one of those young people,” commented Stephen Butler, president of graphic communications at Xerox, after the students presented last year at “Give Back @ Graph.”
It’s up to all of us to continue to support the industry to ensure that it prospers in the future. Getting involved with the Youth in Print scholarship is mutually beneficial for both contributors and students, ensuring that companies in the industry can compete in a rapidly changing environment.
Industry individuals can also think about volunteering for the Scholarship Selection Committee, which decides which students are awarded the scholarships and how much they are given. For those who want to be involved in another way, sponsoring a full table or purchasing individual tickets for the “Give Back @ Graph” EDSF’s Scholarship Night held annually during Graph Expo is a great way to come face-to-face with students who have received a scholarship through the foundation.
In addition, individuals and companies can create a Legacy Scholarship that is completely flexible. “We would love to talk to any interested party about how little it takes and how easy it is to create a Legacy Scholarship,” Kai says. “It takes $1,000 a year and EDSF does all of the work. It doesn’t require a huge corporate commitment. Legacy scholarships are also a great way for companies to honor people in the industry and, in some cases, in the memory of individuals.”
Support from Printers and Vendors
Kai was also quick to acknowledge that EDSF, as well as the scholarships that it provides, wouldn’t be possible without the support of its contributors, which include 4over, Alliance Franchise Brands, BCT, Canon USA, EFI, Franchise Services, GMC Software, Konica Minolta, Pitney Bowes, Sappi Fine Paper, Veritiv, Xeikon, Xerox Corp. and many more — a complete list can be found at www.edsf.org, as well as more information on getting involved with the scholarship foundation.
“We’re the best kept secret in industry, but we don’t want to be,” Kai says.
Make sure to look for the pre-Graph Expo August edition of Printing Impressions, where we will individually recognize each of the contributors to the Youth in Print scholarship program. If you want to be recognized alongside some of the biggest names in the industry, get involved today and show your support for the next generation of printers.
For a scholarship application or to contribute, visit www.edsf.org and make your donation by July 1 to be a part of something big in 2016. PI