Both here and south of the border, recruiting top talent will be one of the biggest future challenges for our industry. Thankfully, our industry organizations, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and educational institutions are continuing to be proactive. In September, we reported that Canadian Print Scholarships awarded 68 new and returning students at five schools across Canada, scholarships for the 2019/2020 academic year valued at $1,500 each. Chair Jeff Ekstein pointed out that this was the most the organization has awarded in a single year! In the U.S., a group of associations, educators and industry reps led by John Berthelsen recently formed the Graphic Communications Workforce Coalition to coordinate the efforts of all organizations in the printing and graphic communications industry to recruit top talent, provide apprenticeship and training programs, and retain existing talent.
Two events I attended recently illustrate how we’re continuing to engage and encourage a new generation of young, highly skilled workers. George Brown College launched its LIFT Lab October 29 at its Fashion Exchange Hub in Toronto. A new generation of design students will now be able to use the latest technology to make custom fabric creations, thanks to the school’s partnership with Epson Canada. Among the technologies in the Lab is an Epson dye sublimation fabric printer for waterless, roll-to-roll custom textile printing. I also attended Ryerson University’s annual awards night November 13, as its School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM) celebrated the amazing achievements and hard work of its students and graduates. It was both a delight and an inspiration to see so many young, talented individuals poised for a rewarding career in our industry. Congratulations to all the students and faculty at my Alma Mater.
Folks, every year those in our greying industry leave a legacy of hard work and accomplishments as they retire. It’s up to all of us to emulate the efforts of our OEMs, schools and industry organizations by telling today’s young people that the printing industry can be as fulfilling for them as it was – and is – for us.
Until next time, always remember that we’re here to help.