You never know how conversations can be a game changer.
A few years back, I was working on a few printing projects for an organization for veterans who have returned home. These young men proudly served but did not want to be lifers. They entered the military right after graduating from high school. They wanted to see the world, move out of the small town- ready for that next adventure. Coming home after 4 or 5 years, they were ready to settle down. Going to college was the plan. Working with the Veterans Advisor, we talked about the difficulties helping them be successful. Our advisor offered some Gen Ed classes to get them settled in to going back to the classroom. Intro to Business, computer and maybe English classes. A few took up his suggestions, not ready to commit to declaring a program of study. The classes were good but did not point them in a direction. They loved trades but being a mechanic, welder or truck driver did not appear to be their next career move.
One thing led to another as the story goes….
I listened to our advisor who was watching out for “his guys” as he called them. These men were not quitters– they just wanted to get into the workforce. After a random conversation with a fellow production-printing supervisor in the commercial sector, the printer mentioned due to traditional printing programs becoming a dried up source with programs changing their focus to Graphics Arts/ Design, he was having trouble filling positions in printing, bindery, and mailing areas. As I listened, I thought about “the guys” that were still out there. It seemed like an untapped resource. Why not exchange some emails with the advisor and production supervisor? After a few conversations, interviews were being discussed. Things were happening for the undecided vets.
Why not give the printing industry a thought?
Interviews were scheduled. The supervisor liked what he heard. Candidates with military values: being on time, being a team player, and being able to follow the chain of command. Willingness to learn printing jargon, watching presses run, seeing catalogs coming off folders sounded good. Real good. These “guys” had that mechanical ability from the military. They liked getting their hands dirty. Running equipment sounded good, they knew how machines ran, and they liked what they saw.
Things were happening.
Job offers were tossed out on the table. It was a great connection. The printing company wanted to give back to the military people. The “guys” liked the idea of being able to run machines and seeing a finished product coming off the line and boxed up. Hands were shook, paperwork was processed, and the new hires were getting trained by the old timers that knew the trade. It had to happen. The company needed a younger workforce before employees were planning their retirement. The veterans of the printing industry were eager to see the young people who just enjoyed learning their new trade. The company was growing. People were feeling valued. Positions were being filled. More work came in and they were ready.
The young military person just wants a decent job. Hiring a Veteran: it is hardly an original idea, but overlooked. Look at your shop, think about who is going to run these machines in ten years. And think about those who have served our country. They will serve you well.
Lisa Vosta has been a member of IPMA since 1984. While serving as Chapter president of the Huskerland chapter, she earned her CGCM at the Omaha regional meeting. Lisa graduated Southeast Community College (SCC) in Printing Technology. While a student, on field trips, she found In-plant shops seemed to fit her. Lisa worked in an In-plant shop for a water purification company long before “bottled water” came to be a household word. After 5 years, she moved on to Bryan Memorial Hospital as Press Technician/Forms Coordinator, managing 1200 forms and working for several departments.
After earning the coveted CGCM in 1987, another 5 years had passed. It was by chance, a new position at SCC was created- Production Printing Supervisor. The program chair was managing being head of the printing program while balancing & managing the in-plant shop located with the program. Lisa accepted the position, returning to the place where she started as a student. One of her many duties, Lisa taught the required bindery class for the program. In addition, she filled in as an adjunct printing instructor for the Adult Education Center, teaching evening press classes.
Printing runs in the family. Lisa recently celebrated her 30th wedding anniversary with now retired Vietnam Veteran Seabee Ted Vosta. Ted managed an In-plant printshop and was a photographer for ISCO- a manufacturing company which made products for wastewater testing and other applications. He too earned his CGCM in Omaha in 1987. Daughter Joslyn followed, becoming a SCC-Milford Campus student, earning an associate degree in Graphic Design in 2014. Joslyn moved to Chicago and worked as a graphic designer/photographer for Indie record company Victory Records. Most recently, she became a Marketing Director for a company that books Music events in the Midwest.