Visit Focuses on Cutting Edge Technology and Workforce Initiatives

Brent Moncrief, Vice President Strategic Marketing & Brand Management, the Americas, FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division, welcomed Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi to the recently renovated and expanded Americas Technology Center in Hanover Park on August 23rd, following up on an invitation extended during a visit to Krishnamoorthi’s Capitol Hill office by Fujifilm Director of Solutions Development Don Schroeder as part of NPES’s 2017 Legislative Conference. Krishnamoorthi represents the Illinois 8th congressional district, home of over 20 NPES member companies, including Fujifilm, the most in any congressional district in the nation. He is a member of the House Education and Workforce, and the Oversight and Government Reform Committees, both key assignments with jurisdiction over NPES government affairs priorities. The Congressman’s tour of Fujifilm’s 24,000 square foot Americas Technology Center highlighted the array of innovative technologies serving four segments of the printing industry – commercial, sign & display, packaging, and industrial. These technologies range from analog consumables, e.g. flexo and offset printing plates and pressroom products to the latest in high speed digital inkjet printing platforms, inks and service.

Pictured left to right, Mark Nuzzaco, VP, Government Affairs, NPES; Brent Moncrief, VP Strategic Marketing and Brand Management – the Americas, Fujifilm; Congressman Krishnamoorthi; and Don Schroeder, Director, Solutions Development, Fujifilm, at Fujifilm’s Americas Technology Center in Hanover Park, Illinois.

In addition to technology, the human workforce needs of the industry were center stage during the visit. Graphic Arts students are welcomed to the Technology Center from post- secondary programs across the country, including Michigan State, Arizona State, Ferris State, Clemson University, and Harper College, as well as students from local high schools. NPES Vice President, Government Affairs Mark Nuzzaco, who attended the tour, thanked Congressman Krishnamoorthi on behalf of the industry and NPES for sponsoring and securing the unanimous bi-partisan approval of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, (H.R. 2353) by the U.S. House of Representatives in June. “This is a very important step forward in bridging the widening skills gap in the printing, imaging and mailing industry,” said Nuzzaco. Congressman Krishnamoorthi stressed that, “it is imperative that the bi-partisan momentum that brought about this success continues with the U.S. Senate acting on the legislation as soon as possible.” Fujifilm’s Moncrief commended the Congressman for his legislative leadership and added that, “the improvements that this legislation brings to career and technical education across the country need to be put into effect now.”

The bill is designed to strengthen and improve career and technical education by reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which will help more students gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs, and aid employers in finding technically qualified workers for their businesses. “This is a totally ‘win-win’ effort,” said NPES’s Nuzzaco. “The challenge of finding qualified workers for technically demanding jobs is repeatedly cited as one of the top keeps me up at night issues for NPES members and others in the printing, imaging and mailing industries value chain.” Upon approval of his bill by the full U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Krishnamoorthi said, “this legislation will help grow our economy and close the skills gap by bringing businesses and educators together to build training programs that will prepare students for in-demand careers.” To that Margie Garr, Director, Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation, adds, “funds made available under this Act supplement normal operational expenses for graphic communications programs allowing for improvement and development, such as the PrintED accreditation program. PrintED provides a valuable framework aligning curriculum with national industry standards to prepare students for further education and employment opportunities.”

Pictured left, Julie Krueger, Manager of the Americas Technology Center, chats industry innovations with Congressman Krishnamoorthi.

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act provides federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. The new legislation will improve current CTE policies to help more Americans gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Specifically, the legislation will:

  • Give states more flexibility in using federal resources, and incentivize technical education that prepares students for high-skill, high-wage occupations and careers;
  • Improve curriculum alignment with in-demand jobs, support innovative learning opportunities, build stronger community partnerships and engagement with employers;
  • Increase employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing, so students are prepared to enter the workforce;
  • Streamline performance measures, reduce administrative burdens, simplify applying for federal resources, and tailor programs to ‎local and state needs;
  • Replicate promising practices that best serve students and employers; and,
  • Provide parents, students, and stakeholders a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of state and local programs.