Similar to other manufacturing companies whose concepts seem out of date and potentially on the brink of extinction, the printing industry has been challenged to attract new talent. Companies must find a way to co-exist with technology and be relevant. A new program established last summer by Rolling Meadows-based Modagrafics shows promise to changing the impression.
The fleet services graphics provider, whose highly visible corporate work is seen everyday on all type of trucks and semi-trailers traveling on highways from coast-to-coast and in Canada, initiated a college internship program. Three students representing DePaul, Drake, and the University of Indiana learned many facets of the business. Modagrafics has since expanded its reach and already has received over 50 applications for 2018 internships that will begin in May.
“Paul Pirkle, our president and CEO, felt utilizing an internship program would be a good way to introduce young people to our industry and provide them with real world experience. The printing industry is evolving and it is becoming increasingly important to have solutions to meet customer challenges for fleet management,” explained Modagrafics project manager Rebeca Carr.
“Many of these solutions involve data analytics, technology, and website development that are driven by new technological developments. It is important to merge our expertise in current industry trends with students who have knowledge of the latest trends in these areas. The three we selected learned a great deal about the industry and were instrumental in helping us develop innovative ways to grow our business.”
Carr said the focus was to combine the students’ passion for learning new things with their interest in sales and marketing, and provide them with experience in operations management.
“At the end of the internship, they recapped the program with a report of findings, installer feedback and recommendations,” Carr said. “The interns felt they had improved their confidence, communications and organization skills. Based on this feedback, we have improved some of our internal processes and identified areas for further development. We will also apply this knowledge to the internship program next year.”
Carr indicated favorable input from the students also was directed to the new technology Modagrafics has adopted the last two years. State-of-the-art printing machines and digital production capability produces stunning visual graphics on the manufacturing floor. And the company has invested in customer driven technology such as its Rapidus app. Now integrated into every fleet branding project, Rapidus helps monitor and manage the process for each job with real-time workflow automation to keep customers informed.
The interns had hands-on experience with Rapidus, and next year’s program may expand to include involvement with other technology, says Mr. Pirkle.
“The printing industry has been looked at for some time as an art that is no longer relevant to the market. Because we tied in technology and innovation to our processes, we have changed the perception of those applying for our internship program,” he stated. “This is good news; it is amazing that college students are wanting to get into manufacturing and the printing industry. This is a testament that they see Modagrafics as a progressive company that utilizes technology and innovation to bring value to our clients. At present, we have had over 50 students apply for our internship program. That is very encouraging.”
Internship applications for 2018 are being accepted until March 31 and should be directed via email to HR Manager Vince Pelletiere: firstname.lastname@example.org.