Sunday, September 10, 2006


Can education keep pace with the business world? This depends on the level of education and the type of business. In my experience, in the printing industry, I have customers who tell me how they learned printing in high school. Most of what I hear looks like this picture of woodcuts and handpress.

I taught high school 25 years ago after being in the industry for about 10 years. My class actually had similar equipment pictured in this old illustration. My first lesson was an introduction to printing, showing how it was done in the past. The next lessons were dedicated as much to the present as possible with the newer equipment available, and moving on to the future of printing at the end of the term. Unfortunately, my views of the future were murky at best.

At the college level there are professors who have been in the industry for many years. There are institutions, such as Rochester Institute of Technology, that are constantly updating their equipment. There are still many people choosing printing and publishing as their careers.

In the past 35 years I've seen an incredible amount of change. When we first bought Merrick Printing in 1985, a common question for sending a proof was, "Do you have a fax?". Usually it was by mail or messenger. E-mail and websites, of course, changed all that.

The problems with education keeping up with all the changes is that business can hardly keep pace with new technologies. It's not only the large outlay of capital; most new equipment becomes obsolete quicker than you can say buggy whip.

Luckily, there are many ways to work around these problems, but not every business can. More on this in a later post.


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