Printing skills and knowledge

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:

Print and Graphics Scholarship (PGSF) Recipients Selected

I recently had the honor of participating in the selection of the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF) scholarship recipients. The PGSF distributes about $400,000 in scholarships to 200 students each year. The PGSF was formed over 60 years ago and since its inception, over 7,000 students have benefited from the financial help they have received from PGSF.

The PGSF awards scholarships to students pursuing a career in the graphic arts and is made possible by donations from individuals and companies. For me, it was great to see the names on the endowed scholarships. I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with many of these individuals who have built this industry through their innovations and determination.

The print industry would not be as formidable as it is today without people like Bert Bassett, Zeb Green, Fred Kagy and Naomi Berber. These fine folks (and many others) dedicated their lives to print and with the help of their scholarship support are passing the baton to a new generation of innovators.

It was stimulating to read some of the students’ comments on what they are hoping their career paths will be. Many were interested in the design aspect of our industry, some were interested in management, a good-sized number want to work in companies that blend print with new media, and there were even a few that had the desire to go into sales.

There was an awareness by the students of the power and value that print provides. Kudos to the teachers who are emphasizing this in their classrooms! As we all known and cringe about, there has been a fair amount of negative opinions about print tossed around in the media over the years.

Of note, this is what one of the students had to say about their career aspirations…

“I see myself striving to achieve my goal of owning my own printshop. Working in this industry is my passion and I want to have the opportunity to make my own mark, to grow this industry and keep it moving forward.”

With students like this, their passion and their love for the printed word, our industry will continue to lead, grow and prosper.

For more information about the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation and how to support it, contact John Berthelsen at 608-575-3904 or

For scholarship information, contact Bernie Eckert at 412-259-1740 or The PGSF website has some great resources for students and parents investigating the graphic communications industry as a career.

Skill Assessments are Crucial to Validate Performance For the Graphic Communications Industry

Frank Kanonik , Printing Industry Expert

Frank Kanonik , Printing Industry Expert

There are thousands of students enrolled in programs preparing them to enter the printing and graphic communications workforce. For graphic communications industry instructors and employers, there is no better way to ensure that new hires have required skills than with industry-driven skill competencies and assessments.

We at Intellective Solutions are proud to be the developer of the competencies and assessments used by the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) and SkillsUSA. Joe Rickard and Frank Kanonik led the efforts to create and develop the industry resources. They worked with education and industry subject matter experts to ensure the competencies and assessments are current, valid and relevant to today’s printing industry.

Patty Duncan, Program Manager of the SkillsUSA Work Force Ready System recently said, “I am impressed with Intellective Solutions professionalism and as well as their expertise in graphic communications. They have developed outstanding and timely industry standards and assessments that will benefit all those who use them”

GAERF has available through PrintED, a national accreditation program that is based on industry standards for graphic communications courses of study at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Their Graphic Communication Skill Standards (GCSC) are six sets of skill competencies and corresponding assessments that are used by instructors to validate their curricula, and also by employers to confirm a potential candidate’s capabilities.

There are 6 topics that are covered by the GCSC competencies, and are available for free download at

·        Digital File Preparation and Output

·        Digital Production Printing

·        Graphic Design

·        Introduction to Graphic Communications

·        Offset Press Operations/Bindery & Finishing

·        Screen Printing

The GCSC assessments are available through GAERF and SkillsUSA, and test technical skills and knowledge using an online, graphic rich format. The assessments correspond to the six GCSC competencies. Ordering information can be found at Immediate grading and feedback is provided.

With rapidly changing technology, digital integration and new business models, having up to date and printing industry driven standards and assessments are critical for our industry to ensure a steady stream of great employees. These standards and assessments support that requirement.

Is Your Printing Company Hiring?

Whether you are a printing company, in plant or agency that is hiring or training new employees, there is a great resource available to help with the process.

Recently, The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) along with Intellective Solutions developed the Graphic Communications Skills Competencies (GCSC) in six key areas commonly found within the printing industry