Heidelberg USA, through its Print Media Academy, recently hosted the second annual Fit to Print event at its North American Print and Packaging Technology Center in Kennesaw, Ga. in support of U.S. graphic arts education programs and careers.
“It was exciting to see a company as important as Heidelberg opening its doors to high school and college students in such an open forum,” said Erich Lehman, Premedia Facilities Coordinator at RIT’s School of Print Media. “Enabling students to see the breadth of Heidelberg's offerings and expose them to the wide spectrum that our industry encompasses is a wonderful and vital opportunity for everyone involved. RIT's School of Print Media was thrilled to attend this year, and we look forward to being a part of Fit to Print in the future.”
Heidelberg conceived and first executed the Fit to Print program in 2010 to build awareness of the graphic arts industry, pull high school students into college graphic arts programs, and educate college students about the latest advances and career opportunities in the field. In attendance at the day-long event were 123 high school and college students and faculty representing 12 graphic arts high school and secondary institutions.
The day got underway with remarks by Susan Nofi, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and head of Heidelberg USA’s Print Media Academy. Following a keynote address by Amela O’Gorman, former SkillsUSA winner and currently a corporate trainee at Quad/Graphics, students and faculty got down to business. Throughout the day, presentations were divided along two tracks targeted to high school students, who heard Heidelberg experts discuss prepress, press, and postpress/packaging topics accompanied by equipment demos; and college students, who participated in sessions dedicated to color management, lean manufacturing, MIS, and the business of printing. A separate information session gave high school students an opportunity to hear presentations from each of the college faculty members present about the graphic arts programs at their schools, as well as learn about scholarship opportunities offered by GAERF and EDSF.
A highlight of the event was a competition among the graphic arts students to design a poster that would promote the graphic arts program at their respective schools. Lawrence Murray, a senior at the Bradwell Institute in Hinesville, GA, designed the winning high school poster, while the graphic communications program at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA won for its entry by Charlie Skinner, a senior Graphic Communications Management major. The winners each earned a donation by Heidelberg USA and Unisource Worldwide of $1000 in Saphira consumables and Unisource paper for their school’s program.
Said Nofi, “Heidelberg has a long history of helping to educate and encourage our next generation of graphic arts employees. Now an annual event, Fit to Print is one more way Heidelberg offers its resources and world-leading expertise to advance the career prospects of students in our multi-faceted, high-tech industry. We are deeply gratified by the enthusiastic response we continue to receive, and look forward to hosting yet another Fit To Print event in 2012.”
Heidelberg’s third annual Fit to Print student day will be scheduled for Fall 2012.