New Mariano Rivera Foundation Print Training Center set to open at Premium Color Graphics’ New Jersey facility

The Mariano Rivera Foundation’s print design packaging development program has been gaining momentum since its launch in early 2021. New interns are finding jobs and printers are finding qualified employees. Now, as the program expands, a new training center is set to launch at Premium Color Graphics’ facility in Carlstadt, NJ in January 2023.

Andy Griffin, Managing Partner of Premium Color Group, stands with attendees at the open house at the Mariano Rivera Foundation’s new training center for its print design packaging development program located at PCG’s facilities in Carlstadt, NJ.

Everyone loves a feel-good story, and thanks to the Mariano Rivera Foundation (MRF) and its print design packaging development and mentorship programs, the print industry has more, and more to come. The foundation was started by Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees with a mission to bring STEM mentorship, training and education to at-risk youth.

MRF’s Print Design Packaging Development Program was the brainchild and result of a partnership with Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office, with support from ATO President Larry Weiss and Vice President of Production of printing – CIP Luis Villa, which serves as the main liaison between the foundation and the printing house. industry.

The print design packaging development program was launched in 2021. Although MRF’s headquarters are in New Rochelle, NY, the first training center was opened on church property in Gainesville, FL , as the foundation awaits the completion of its 40,000 square foot formation. center.

As part of the program, students have the opportunity to earn industry certifications including:

  • EFI Fiery Professional
  • Fiery EFI expert
  • Konica Minolta Field Service Technician
  • Ricoh Digital Literacy
  • Idealalliance color management professional
  • Lean Six Sigma project management

In January 2023, a second training center will open its doors at the premises of Premium Color Group in Carlstadt. It will offer more than classroom training and online certifications. He will also provide hands-on training through PCG’s production department. The ability to obtain an Adobe certification will be added at that time.

“Students will be able to step out across the hall from the classroom into the Premium Color Graphics production room and see these lessons in action right in front of them,” says Villa.

A brand new classroom at the Premium Color Graphics facility in Carlstadt, NJ, provided by Sun Chemical, which will support 8-10 students in the Print Design Packaging Development Program beginning in January 2023.

Find a job in printing

The inaugural Print Design Packaging Development program trained six selected young people from local high schools, four of whom have already found employment in the printing industry. Villa also made one hire directly from the foundation’s broader (but not print-specific) mentorship program and is looking to make two more.

The training is free for students and is supported by donations, both financial and material, including donations of hardware and software by suppliers to the printing industry. Program backers include Konica-Minolta, Ricoh, Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office, EFI, IdeaAlliance, Adobe, What They Think, Sun Chemical, and the Printing Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF).

Leevinski Leonard was the first employee of the Mariano Rivera Foundation. Villa immediately recognized Leonard’s potential and Leonard is now a Konica Minolta certified technician with EFI certification. After nine months of training, Leonard now makes service calls on his own. Leonard was recently recognized at the ATO’s annual gala and employee awards program for his outstanding achievement.

Villa is amazed at how quickly Leonard has learned and grown. “Last week, he installed his first Konica-Minolta production on his own,” says Villa. “I sent one of our other guys over to see how he was doing, and Lee was like, ‘Why is he here? I got this!’ – And he did. Lee’s confidence, his pride in his work, is incredible.

New year, new interns

The Gainesville Pilot Training Center is launching its second batch of trainees in September 2022. Candidate selection is currently underway. When the Carlstadt training center opens in January, it will also launch its program with 8-10 trainees.

PCG’s facilities in Carlstadt, New Jersey, are owned by Sun Chemical, which paid for one of the building’s empty rooms to be renovated and turned into a learning center. The classroom has 8-10 desks, laptops, a set of black leather sofas and a large flat-screen TV, providing students with both a superior education and a sense of worth and of belonging.

The novelty of the program is the participation of local printers, who will have the opportunity to meet the trainees and conduct pre-employment interviews according to their needs. This will allow intern study programs to be customized with the specific skills each potential employer is looking for.

“There are a lot of printers in New Jersey, our customers, who call us and say, ‘Do you know anyone to run our machines?’ says Villa. “We have a client who said, ‘I can use eight people today.’ So we’re going to tweak the program a bit to personalize the student learning so that once these students graduate from the program, they can be ready to work in these print shops from day one.

Printers participating in the program will also have the option of having the intern observe on their site once a week or every two weeks. This will allow interns to become more familiar with and acclimatize to the production environments of their potential employers.

Save 653

The growth and success of the Print Design Packaging Development program is changing the lives of these interns and providing the industry with highly skilled workers. As more printers and vendors learn about the program and offer their expertise and support, the program continues to grow.

The print design packaging development program also reflects Mariano Rivera’s heart for today’s youth, as reflected in the foundation’s motto: Save 653. “Throughout his career in the Major League Baseball, Mariano made 652 saves,” Villa concludes. “But he thinks the most important ‘rescue’ is the one he’s doing: rescuing America’s youth through education. We’re excited to be a part of it!”

Leevinski Leonard, hired by Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office through the Mariano Rivera Foundation mentorship program, stands with former New York Yankee Jim Leyritz (left) and Stephen Hammond, print production engineer for Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office (right), at the ATO’s annual gala after receiving an honorary plaque for outstanding achievement.

Milton S. Rodgers