"Our goal is to provide innovative learning spaces for students to develop the critical thinking and life skills that position them for future success as contributors to an engaged community," says Dr. Cassandra Washington, executive director, career, technical and agricultural education (CTAE) and CEO of Hutchings CCA, Bibb County School District, in Macon, Georgia. "Ricoh ACE offers an ideal opportunity to do just that, providing our instructors with the tools, technology and support needed to give students the practical and technical skills they will need in the real world — making them career-ready from the moment of graduation. We're proud to be leading the way as the first organization in the nation to deliver the program and excited to partner with Ricoh, whose team members and support are truly unmatched."
Ricoh ACE trains and certifies instructors across a range of educational institutions — including high schools, community colleges, and adult education, career, and technical schools — to deliver the curriculum to students at their local institutions, thereby certifying those students, as well. ACE instructor training takes place at the Ricoh Customer Experience Center (CEC) in Boulder, Colorado, where Ricoh's print experts provide hands-on experience with the core printing industry technologies and technical processes employed today, as well as graphic design, specialty software, production automation, workflow best practices, and in-depth industry insights. Participants in the training at the CEC are also granted future access to Ricoh's technical experts for ongoing remote support when delivering the curriculum at their respective educational institutions.
Program completion earns participants the Certified Sign and Graphic Production Specialist certification for both instructors and students, ensuring graduates have the necessary technical and professional skills, education, and training to effectively become gainfully employed within the commercial print and sign & graphics industries.
"With the current wave of unprecedented innovation in production printing, there's no better time to build and mentor new talent, especially in today's competitive market," says Derrick Rankin, VP, professional services, software & strategic solutions, Ricoh USA. "In direct support of United Nations' SDG number eight, which targets inclusive and sustainable economic growth and productive employment, the Ricoh ACE curriculum provides students with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary for direct entry into the high-demand printing industry — providing a springboard to a bright professional future."
"Combining education with real-world experience is exactly what the printing industry needs, and if we're being honest, we've needed it for a long time. I'm thrilled Ricoh has built a program that educates and certifies instructors to equip new print professionals with the training needed to help them excel on day one," says Cathy Skoglund, director, Southwestern states member services, Printing Industries Association of Southern California. "Putting eager and energetic students together with print specialists to learn about the importance of print in our everyday lives will ultimately help our collective whole grow at the pace needed for success."
Ricoh ACE also integrates job search skills to ensure graduates and trainees are supported in their transition to the career field, including interview preparation, communication proficiency skills and a guaranteed job interview upon successful completion of the program.