Just last month, dozens of high school and college students gathered in Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the 52nd annual SkillsUSA National Graphic Communications Competition. Winners from each state contest demonstrated their technical skills in various areas:
Offset Press Operations
Online Written Test
The national competition is an exciting time because we have the opportunity to meet students from across the country and share our passion for the graphic communications industry at large. Heidelberg sponsored the offset portion of the contest where students were introduced to packaging using a Printmaster 46 press and a pre-mounted RSP Die Cutting system. Contestants performed 3 die cut pieces on the press from start to finish including setting up the feeder and delivery, and registering the dies to the preprinted 4/0 sheet into the correct position.
Making the Connection
Working with SkillsUSA this year has been particularly rewarding because we’ve networked with several printing companies to develop additional training programs such as industry tours and job shadowing. Being able to connect students to local print shops is an opportunity that many may not have in their current curriculum, and it offers real world exposure outside of the classroom. The companies have shown great interest in providing these opportunities and look to the students as future leaders and employees.
Facing the Future
For the past nine years, Heidelberg has hosted the SkillsUSA Georgia competition at our Print Media Center in Atlanta. It’s an event we look forward to every year, and provides us the ability to mentor the next generation of leaders in the industry. Through the annual state and national competitions, we are able to spend valuable time with the students by training them on how to use the equipment and breaking down the fear of the unknown. For several students, this is the first time operating a piece of equipment. The hands-on experience allows them to explore practical applications and discover areas of special interest for their post-secondary education or career. The talent on display is truly inspiring, and we are already looking forward to next year!
Graphic Communications Winners Included:
Kristina LoVerso — Riverside Community College (Riverside, CA)
Jessica Cupples — Illinois Central College (East Peoria, IL)
Kalon Stephens — Tulsa Technology Center-Sand Springs (Sand Springs, OK)
Brittney Whitestone — Carroll County Career & Tech Center (Westminster, MD)
Ezekiel Moore — Harris County High School (Hamilton, GA)
Suhkharan Saggi — Medford Vocational High School (Medford, MA)
Account Manager, Heidelberg
Co-Chair of Graphic Communications, Skills USA