The call that print is dead and digital is everything was never true, and it is becoming more apparent every day.
As experienced pressmen, print designers, mechanics, and technicians age out of the industry, something needs to be done to bring new talent into the print workforce.
The industry is already being attacked by the current supply chain disruption, inflationary price pressures, and green warriors who claim using trees for paper is contributing to global warming. Though, that argument has calmed a tad as reality of the renewable resources of forest husbandry have been explained.
Printing is not the ink under the fingernails business of the past; ink rollers have largely been replaced by digital laser and toner presses. For an industry in a state of disruption, the question of workforce continuity becomes critical.
Enter the closer. Mariano Rivera, yes that Mariano, New York Yankee, MLB icon, and hall of famer. He has tasked his foundation with creating a program for underserved high schoolers that introduces them to opportunities in the printing trade.
The Mariano Rivera Foundation launched the “Print, Design and Packaging Development” training program. The first classroom and training facility was run in a church property in Gainesville, Florida. The students, aged 16 to 18 from local high schools, were exposed to basic business etiquette and the multiple career paths available in the industry. Now, a brand new, fully working printing facility is planned for New Rochelle, and additional sites are on the drawing board for Houston, TX and Carlstadt, NJ.
Rivera’s passion for the program is clear. “If we don’t provide for this under-privileged, under-served youth, who will? They need someone to believe in them. They need someone to say ‘I’m investing in you, I trust you. We believe that you can accomplish anything you want.”
EFI, a major supplier to the printing industry, became a corporate sponsor of the foundation in 2021, followed by What They Th!nk, Printing United Alliance, and The Printing and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF).
Graduates of the program earn certifications that many entry-level and junior tradesmen do not have, giving them an advantage on carving out a career in the printing industry.
The foundation is looking for industry veterans, professionals, and printshop owners to get involved in creating the next generation of industry workers. You can learn more at themarianoriverafoundation.org.