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FLEXO Magazine : October 2009
www.flexography.org OCTOBER 2009 FLEXO 23 Table 1. Influences to choosing a graphic communication major N Mean Std. Dev 1. High school technology teacher/classes (including graphic communication classes) 46 3.24 1.079 2. Work experience in the graphic communication industry 44 3.14 1.047 3. Participation in high school Yearbook club 27 2.85 1.350 4. Learning graphics applications for fun on your own (i.e., Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc.) 51 2.82 1.108 5. Field trips to graphic communication companies 37 2.76 1.164 6. Campus visits/program tour 49 2.65 1.251 7. College catalog (online or print versions)/graphic communication major description 51 2.61 1.078 8. Vocational school experience 22 2.5 1.336 9. Changing major field of study from a related area (like graphic design or computer science) as a result of being exposed to graphic communication through course(s) 27 2.44 1.251 10. College's graphic communication program brochure/poster 47 2.34 1.069 11. High school art teacher/classes 39 2.33 1.177 12. Exposure to graphic communication through career fair exhibits at a high school or college 41 2.32 1.213 13. Participation in high school newspaper club 24 2.29 1.268 14. Prestige associated with the profession 46 2.22 1.153 15. College's graphic communication program website 44 2.18 1.126 16. A visit to your high school class by a representative from a college graphic communication program 26 2.08 1.093 17. College guidance/career counselor 41 2.05 1.182 18. A peer (friend, roommate, etc.) showing what is taking place in his/her graphic communication courses 29 2.03 1.149 19. Opinions or pressures of family members in the graphic communication industry 28 1.86 1.079 20. Exposure to graphic communication career websites, like Make Your Mark 13 1.77 1.092 21. High school computer science teacher/classes 41 1.73 1.025 22. The results of a career survey 36 1.67 0.828 23. High school business teacher/classes 37 1.62 0.924 24. High school guidance/career counselor 39 1.56 0.940 N=60 not signify the strength of the influence. Influence ratings for all 60 students surveyed were averaged to determine the relative impact of the influence, expressed as means. For example, high school graphic communication technology classes had the highest mean, indicating the most impact of all the influences. A graph showing the relationship of impact, frequency, and rela- tive cost was developed to help interpret the data. CONCLUSIONS The data clearly suggests that "high-touch" experiences are required to motivate students to pursue graphic com- munication careers. High school graphic communication technology classes were by far the strongest influence for students to choose college majors in graphic communication. Participation in yearbook clubs and employment in graphic communication companies were also highly influential. The data also shows that just reading or viewing information about the industry is not highly influential. For example, Web sites and literature about the industry and career opportuni- ties were not influential. Also, career counselors have minimal influence in these students' career choices. The most influential experiences tend to have a higher cost associated with them. With trends toward eliminating the print- ing equipment in many graphic communication high school programs across the nation, the pool of high achieving young people choosing graphic communication majors may dwindle. Keeping these programs strong requires a commitment of support at the grassroots level. Also, graphic communication companies who hire high school and college students for sum- mer or part-time work are likely to have a positive influence. Hiring these students may not be immediately profitable, as these employees are less skilled and experienced. Many of those in our industry may not realize the high cost and time commitment required to effectively attract the best and brightest to the graphic communication industry. The path to maintaining and increasing the number of college-bound students choosing to major in graphic communication degree programs is clear: print providers and supply companies must get involved in the recruiting process. Contact with high schools has to be at the "grassroots" level, with support from local indus- try to respective schools. With a concerted, industry-wide effort, the long-term impact on the industry can be great. ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Dr. Dan Wilson is a professor and coordinator of the graphic communication degree program at Illinois State University. Dr. Wilson has been teaching graphic communication in higher education for 20 years and has authored several printing industries press books. He also works with ISU Technology Education students preparing to be graphic communication high school teachers. Stacy Birk is a graduate student in Illinois State Univer- sity 's Department of Technology. She is pursuing a Master of Science in Project Management with a concentration in Graphic Communication. For information regarding PGSF or scholarship applica- tions, contact Bernie Eckert, PGSF administrator, 200 Deer Run Road, Sewickley, PA 15143-2600, 412-259-1740, or beck- firstname.lastname@example.org. INDUSTRY INDICATORS
Sustainable Fall 2009