The vendor community is an integral part of the graphic communications education process, offering technology to colleges and universities for hands-on learning opportunities, scholarship programs to assist up-and-coming talent in their pursuit of a career in the graphic communications industry, and participating in programs such as SkillsUSA.
There are two primary foundations within the industry that dish out scholarships to young men and women looking to further their education within the graphic communications field.
The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF), housed under the same roof as Printing Industries of America, coordinates the industry’s largest scholarship program. For the academic year 2011-2012, PGSF will provide college scholarship assistance totaling over $400,000 to over 200 students at 80 different schools. The Scholarship Foundation manages and invests over $8,000,000 for the benefit of its donors, which include vendors, printers, individuals, and industry groups.
“The vender community is very much a part of the fabric of the graphic communication Industry,” Ted. C. Ringman, VP of Development for PGSF. “Venders include equipment suppliers, software providers, paper suppliers and consumables suppliers. Today almost 25% of the students graduating from a college graphics program choose a career on the vender side and do not go to work for a printer. Along with the direct support of the programs at schools venders can conduct open house visits and provide speakers and demonstrations at the schools. The school programs cannot always have the latest technologies. The venders can do much by visiting the schools or having classes visit them for demonstrations.“
Founded in 1996, The Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF) is the only foundation dedicated to enhancing the value and relevance of document and graphic communications worldwide. It is supported by a scholarship program and Excellence in Education Awards. Since its inception, EDSF has awarded several hundred scholarships worldwide (See article on page).
"More than ever before, there is a critical need for individuals and companies to support the future of the document management and graphic communications industry, notes Brenda Kai, Executive Director, EDSF. “Through the generous contributions of our wonderful Board of Directors and individual donations, the EDSF scholarship program enables students to receive the education necessary to pursue careers in the industry, while providing much needed assistance in offsetting the ever increasing financial burden of a college education”.
Many vendors donate equipment and technology to leading educational institutions, providing students with practical, hands on experience using current technology and machinery.
Cal Poly’s academic program is supported by scores of vendors—too numerous to name, says Dr. Harvey Leveson, who directs the graphic communications program. “If I attempted to list them all, I'm sure to miss some and I do not want any of our supporters to feel slighted. In our academic program (www.grc.calpoly.edu) we have over 33,000 square feet of laboratories nearly all heavily supported via donations, no-cost leases, or permanent loans. This includes very focused labs such as sheet-fed litho printing; web litho printing; digital printing; electronic prepress; computer-to-plate; design reproduction technology; flexography and gravure; substrates, inks and toners; management applications; costing, pricing, and estimating; binding and finishing; to name a few. Vendors also support the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly (www.grci.calpoly.edu), the arm of our department that services industry through research, testing, product evaluations, consulting, training, seminars, workshops, conferences, and even publishing.”
Another way vendors help support the industry is through sponsorship of SkillsUSA. For the past four years, Heidelberg USA has hosted the annual Georgia SkillsUSA competition in Advertising Design and Graphic Communications at its Technology Center in Kennesaw, GA.
"Participation in SkillsUSA is a win for everyone. Students get valuable job training and industry ensures a skilled pipeline of future talent," says Tim Taylor, CEO, PIAG. The national SkillsUSA Championship competition is held each summer in Kansas City, MO, followed by the WorldSkills International competition, held each fall in different locations around the globe. Skills USA-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.