Printing industry education

Virginia Department of Education updates Graphic Communications skill competencies


Frank Kanonik, managing director of Intellective Solutions recently participated in a workshop to update the Commonwealth of Virginia’s graphic communications skill competencies. The courses being taught in the Commonwealth are now aligned to the new PrintED skill competencies.

The Virginia Department of Education conducts periodic reviews of the technical knowledge required by potential employers. Bringing together educators and industry representation confirms that the graphic communications courses being taught throughout Virginia will lead to students being prepared for todays high skill, high demand and high wage careers in the print industry.

It was extremely encouraging to work with such a dedicated group of teachers that equips their students with the skills required to be successful in the printing industry. What students need to know is different from even a few years ago. Courses being taught today must reflect the newer technologies being used.

During the workshop, each skill competency, also known as a Task Statement was discussed to ensure that it was both measurable and expressed a specific action that was being learned. Also developed was a description of each task to help the educator and questions to help encourage critical thinking and discussion.

An example of a Task Statement is the following:

#72 Explain the purpose of Imposition


Explanation should state that the purpose of imposition is the positioning of pages in a way so that the pages in the finished format document come out in the proper printed sequence and should include step-and-repeat, work and turn or tumble, and signature.

Process/Skill Questions:

  • What are the consequences of incorrect use of imposition on a document?

  • How has digital printing technology affected imposition?

  • How would a work-and-Turn imposition differ from a work-and-tumble imposition?

  • How does imposition for saddle stitch binding differ from imposition for perfect binding?

The recently updated PrintED Skill Competencies were researched and managed by Intellective Solutions. Interviews were conducted with numerous educators, printing companies and vendors to validate their completeness and accuracy. To download a free copy of the Skill Competencies, visit:

To learn more about the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Career and Technical Education department’s efforts and success stories, visit

PrintED offers assistance and accreditation for schools that offer graphic communication courses.

For information on the Intellective Solutions newly available Introduction to Graphic Communications curriculum visit:

Perkins CTE Act Approved and Improved

We are excited with the recent reauthorization of the HR Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act. This is a bipartisan triumph for Congress and the Administration to extend and improve the 2006 Perkins Act. In the very large and transitioning Graphic Communications Industry there is a growing demand for skilled workers. This Act addresses many needs of job seekers and industry.

The Graphic Communications Industry is rapidly changing due to the impact of the internet, data driven printing, digital imaging technologies and expanding industrial applications. As a consequence, we are seeing shortages in labor in multiple states. Graphic Communications is among the top five manufacturing sectors in the United States.

A highlight of the Act is bringing the funding and decision making closer to the local communities and employers. For a good review of the improvements, see H.R. 235s: Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. A key focus of the legislation is directing resources to providing the students with the actual skills necessary to fill today’s available jobs. For us, that means less theory and old thinking and more “hands on” and creativity.

This Act is huge step in providing the right skills to available job openings. There is no better place than the ever changing and transitioning Graphic Communications industry.  We at Intellective Solutions are very proud to working with High Schools and vocational institutions across the country to provide benchmark curriculum and instructor/student resources for courses in Digital Production Printing and Intro to Graphic Communications. Congratulations to our government for agreeing in a bipartisan way to deliver a great bill.

Leading Printers Praise GAERF Skill Competencies and Assessments


Printing company owners Tim Boucher and Todd Ventura discussed the value of skill competencies and assessments for employees of printing companies provided by Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF).

GAERF provides Graphic Communications Skills Competencies (GCSC) and Skill Assessments  for the graphic communications industry. The competencies and assessments were written by industry professionals and graphic communications educators to provide measurable or observable knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors critical to successful job performance in six key content areas

“The ability to evaluate and benchmark high level skills for prepress and print production professionals is essential” says Tim Boucher owner of BSquared Design & Printing. BSquared is a state-of-the-art digital printer that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Boucher feels to compete in his very competitive market he insists that his employees maintain the highest level of technical and professional skills. Supporting high expectations of his time-starved customers is an important ingredient to his company’s success. BSquared is one of the fastest growing printers in the Northeast.

Discussing SkillsUSA assessments, Megan Valdez, Managing Director of BSquared said, “Many pre-press professionals are self-taught or learn through on the job training”. The use of these assessments is a way to identify areas where further training or mentoring is required”.

Recently, one of BSquared customer service account representatives reviewed the results of the Digital File Preparation and Output Assessments and found a potential gap in their knowledge of color management. This allowed the employee to take steps to deeper their skill level in this area by working with more experienced employees and reviewing available training materials.

PRP Companies is a full service commercial printer located in San Luis Obispo, California. The President, Todd Ventura, is a firm believer in the value of putting in place a continuing education program for both sales and production staff.

According to Ventura, “because of the changes in the graphic communications industry, we must provide a systematic educational approach to stay abreast of not only technological changes, but also in what types of products and services our customers are requesting”.

Ventura’s staff has been involved with the review of the updated PrintED GCSC skill competencies and assessments. “As the person responsible for ensuring that PRP companies maintains its competitive edge by hiring and maintaining a skilled workforce, the PrintED skill competencies are exactly what we need”

When asked about the value of the assessments for his company, Ventura answered “We were not aware of the PrintED program prior to agreeing to review the materials. However, we absolutely will use the GCSC skill assessments in two different ways; number one is to give preferential treatment to prospective candidates that possess a PrintED certification and number two, to use the assessments to benchmark current employees to help develop a training continuum based on their needs.” Contact Joe Rickard of Intellective Solutions at 845 753 6156 to answer any questions.