By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Colleges, trade schools, and universities are known for preparing the future workforce. One of the top concerns of today’s print providers is the availability of skilled laborers. As technology evolves, machines are easier to use but the workflow behind them becomes more complex.
Therefore, educational programs that give students a head start in the graphic arts with introductory print education programs are invaluable to the industry. These lessons promote hands-on press experience, finishing skills, and online education.
La Vista and La Sierra
The La Vista and La Sierra High Schools in Fullerton, CA learn digital printing with the help of EFI eLearning. Both schools are award winning continuation and alternative high schools in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District (FJUHSD) that feature non-traditional educational settings.
The schools share a campus and staff that is dedicated to working with students at risk of not graduating on time, are on individual education plans, or want a learning environment that is different from a traditional high school.
La Vista is the district’s continuation high school and was named a Model School by the CA department of education for the last 12 years. La Sierra is the district’s alternative high school that offers more flexibility in organization and variety, innovation, and individualization in student educational programs. Six programs are designed for students of all academic levels and abilities including one that focuses on traditional skills that can foster careers.
Among its programs is the graphic arts education course in which the FJUHSD purchased digital printing equipment and developed an instructional program from plans designed by Fullerton College’s faculty.
“The objective of the classes is to give the students hands-on skills, so they have another path to get a job,” says Henry Sandoval, teacher, FJUHSD. “The pathway that we’re targeting is for them to be certified.”
Sandoval worked in the commercial print industry for 25 years before becoming a graphic arts teacher. After teaching in Whittier, CA for seven years, he moved to FJUHSD to set up a similar program.
He is the only teacher in the print program and teaches six periods—two for 10th grade students and four for 11th and 12th grade students. Sandoval also participates in the Xerox Digital Career Pathways Program and uses eLearning courses from EFI.
Graphic Arts Studies
FJUHSD’s graphic arts curriculum is a two- to three-year program. The first year covers working with Fiery Command WorkStation while the second and third year gives students opportunities to learn additional skills like imposition and color management.
With the EFI eLearning courses, students receive flexibility to learn at their own pace. “The class that I’m teaching is Craft and Production. I would say probably about 25 percent of my students have completed up to 300 level courses. I did have one student move all the way up to the 700 series,” shares Sandoval.
EFI eLearning courses cater to new and existing Fiery users in different roles from analysts and specialists to production sales representatives and print operators. It features 30 to 45 minute interactive learning sessions that enhance student’s Fiery product knowledge, increase productivity, and optimize abilities in any printing environment.
In this course, FJUHSD students use a Xerox 1000i with an EFI Fiery digital front end running the latest version of Fiery Command WorkStation, along with XMPie software for variable data applications. Students also practice finishing with a cutter, folder, digital creaser, and a trimmer.
The combination of hands-on and online education gives FJUHSD students the chance to learn in the way that best suits them—something Sandoval considers key to student success. “I have a broad spectrum of student ability. For example, I teach special education and all those students received a certificate but one. I’m going to put him on the press and give him more hands-on work. Once he’s done it a few times, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
The eLearning courses also contribute to the district’s budget. La Vista and La Sierra receive free online courses and certifications, which Sandoval believes is outstanding for teachers and students.
The schools’ graphic arts facility houses the only color press in the district. Sandoval’s graphic arts classes print work for both La Vista and La Sierra High School as well as for the district’s other high schools. The students produce all the color work district-wide, which also gives the program exposure.
“Board members, other schools, and the district superintendent have all toured our facility. They all love what they see,” offers Sandoval. His future plans for the program are to build the lessons into more of a production class.
Sandoval also hopes to offer production services to companies in the local community. “We have a job in here right now for 14 police department services. We’re doing some training cards for them.”
In addition to hands-on experience, students receive a competitive edge in college admissions. Those that complete Sandoval’s class with at least an 80 percent grade are eligible to enroll at Fullerton College, which also offers a full printing technology course. The college’s printing technology program provides theory and laboratory experiences that simulate live production in a commercial work environment and explores advanced sheetfed offset presswork, digital/in-plant graphics, electronic imaging, flexography skills, packaging production, printing technology, and screen printing.
FJUHSD students that complete six high school units and earn a high school transcript receive three college units. The college also has a graphics department as well as a manufacturing and printing department. Sandoval’s classes tour the college facility—allowing them to view future opportunities in print education after high school.
In completing the high schools’ printing courses, students also are also presented with career opportunities. For example, Sandoval visited a Xerox seminar and spoke with a number of office superstore managers. He discussed the students’ certifications in which the managers said prospective employees would be more likely to get an interview and position with such criteria.
Since starting the program Sandoval has entered student work in print contests at the Printing Industry Association of Southern CA. “We placed as high as second and third last year, which was really awesome and gave us great exposure for the kids and the program.”
Build Your Future in Printing Technology
By participating in a high school graphic arts program, students receive a competitive edge on college courses as well as a better chance to land a job in the printing industry.
“Working with EFI has been a great partnership,” adds Sandoval. “The online university has been phenomenal. My students learn about everything from color management to composition and workflow. It’s very user friendly.”
In part two of this series we look at a unique program offered to students interested in art and publishing. dps
Nov2018, DPS Magazine