Addressing the dire need for training for new and seasoned print industry professionals alike, HEIDELBERG USA launched its Print Media Performance & Training Center (PMPTC) at its North American Headquarters in Kennesaw, GA in May 2022. The company, who offers its training free of charge to participants, has already held ten classes in the short time since its training center opened. In response to the programs’ successes and push from the industry, HEIDELBERG has launched new training topics and additional classes for 2023.
Unlike Anything Else in the Industry
HEIDELBERG’s PMPTC hosted upwards of 70 participants across its various training classes during the second half of 2022. Attendees included everyone from operators to managers to owners with a wide range of experience in the industry. Tom Beddor, Pressroom Manager at Japs Olson in Minneapolis, MN, recently attended “Quality Printing and the Chemistry Behind the Print” with both his new and veteran press operators. The class focuses on the chemistry behind the interaction of ink, water, rollers, and plates. “Over the last year, we have been laser focused on training entry level operators along with progressing veteran operators into more advanced skill sets. These training efforts are the result of the current labor shortages in the print industry,” said Beddor. “During this class, I realized how important the fundamental building blocks are in printing. We need to continually teach and reinforce these topics with all our operators, even the experienced ones.”
The leader in offset printing, HEIDELBERG’s offset training programs have been the most popular so far. With a class limit of only 10 people to ensure quality, hands-on training, some classes are requiring wait lists. According to Jeff Powalisz, Director of HEIDELBERG’s PMPTC, “We are seeing success because there is no other place in the industry where operators can get this kind of classroom and hands-on training at a time that is convenient for them.” HEIDELBERG offers a full curriculum of classes on topics ranging from “Introduction to Commercial Folding” to “Print Color Management for Offset & Digital” to “Introduction to Die Cutting” – offering some of its classes on the weekends to accommodate busy production schedules during the week for its customers.
New to the print industry, Phillip Chew, Vice President at K & D Graphics in Orange, CA, is currently learning the “ins and outs” of his family run print company. Having attended three different classes, Chew said, “As someone who hasn’t been in the printing industry for a very long time, it is important for me to learn from the experts as opposed to secondhand training. I plan on signing up for future classes. They have been very helpful in expanding my printing knowledge.” Outside of individual print topics, HEIDELBERG also offers a “Process Improvement” class focused on continuous improvement across the entire manufacturing supply chain. Austin Hughes, Warehouse Manager at Wallace Graphics in Duluth, GA, recently attended the class, saying, “I learned how building a team that completely understands continuous improvement makes day-to-day tasks much easier. HEIDELBERG showed us how when policies and procedures are put in place, the overall process always improves.”
With the success of 2022 classes, HEIDELBERG is focused on providing more classes for customers in 2023 with the addition of some new topics like “Introduction to Folding and Gluing.” The company will continue to add new topics in the future like training for digital operators and on color control devices and continuously seeks input from the industry for other training topics. HEIDELBERG credits the success of its classes to the great efforts put forth by the programs’ instructors and organizers. According to Powalisz, “Our instructors do a fantastic job of taking complicated subject matter and distilling it into concepts that can be easily understood. We know we’re doing it right when it’s informative and fun for everyone.” While many valuable resources go into hosting these classes, HEIDELBERG is adamant the programming remain free to its participants. “We believe this investment in people pays immediate dividends for our customers and for the industry. By keeping the classes free and rotating days of the week, we are removing some of the typical barriers to training,” said Powalisz.