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Battling for a Digitally Focused Print Education

(June 2006) posted on Wed Jun 07, 2006

Ensuring students and programs stay up to date.


By Gregory Sharpless

At the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center (www.cvccworks.com) in Brecksville, OH, just south of Cleveland, Bill Delgado is striving to ensure that students statewide keep up-to-date when it comes to digital printing technologies.

An instructor in the school"?s Graphic Imaging Technology Program, Delgado has been teaching print and graphics for 29 years and was named the EDSF Educator of the Year for Secondary/Post-Secondary Education by the Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF). One of Delgado"?s major concerns: Educational programs for printing are not focusing enough on the digital side of things"?while school programs within other fields (design, IT, etc.) are tending to capture these technologies.

"We are at a crossroads in graphic-arts education and training,"? he says. "Our traditional printing programs have always centered around offset output. Many of our programs have been closed over the past 5 years at an alarming rate. One thing we know for sure: When a printing and graphics program closes, it hardly ever comes back."?

"We have a two-fold challenge,"? he continues. "First is to re-invent traditional print training programs to truly be "?graphic-imaging technology"? programs. If we do not do this, it will be cut up and done as parts of other programs such as website design or IT programs. The classes and labs should be centered around a digital-workflow curriculum but with multiple outputs being taught. I envision large-format inkjet, screen, offset, digital capture, as well as flexo and even digital routers being all valid for graphic-imaging programs."?

Secondly, he says, there"?s a need to convince the Tech-Prep Consortiums (part of the federally funded national education reform aimed at technology training) as well as the Ohio Board of Regents that they need to approve existing programs for Tech-Prep funding. "We need to convince them that, at the college level, we are not addressing the need for imaging science and print-related training for this hidden giant we call graphics,"? says Delgado.

But Delgado isn"?t simply complaining about the situation. He"?s also formulated a plan of action by putting together an event: the Ohio Graphics Education and Training Initiative 2006. To be held in September at Xpedx"?s Digital Training Center in Twinsburg, OH, the event is geared to raise the profile of the graphic-arts industry, and emphasize the importance that printing and imaging have on the state"?s economy. "Our focus is to get a dialogue going between the "imaging"? industries and education administrators at the highest level,"? says Delgado. Participants will include the Printing Industries Association of Northern Kentucky and Ohio, the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen, graphics instructors from across the state, and others.

Importantly, he points out, this isn"?t just about Ohio. "Many other states are experiencing the same type of issues in regards to transforming graphic-arts education."?


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