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Alumni in Print – Where Are They Now? - Jessica Kidd

April 27, 2017

The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation is publishing profiles featuring some of their more than 6000 former scholarship recipients. This series gives you an up close and personal insight into the thoughts and motivations of the former students who are a part of our industry today. As our current employees reach retirement and leave, replacing them becomes an increasingly important factor for many companies. Here is one story…

A Profile

Jessica KiddJessica Kidd (formerly Roethle) attended the University of Wisconsin – Stout. She gained her Bachelor of Science, with a Major in Graphic Communications Management, Minor in Business Administration graduating in May 2011.

How did you first get interested in the graphic arts, or decide to focus on graphic communications in school?

I went to high school in Hartford, Wisconsin where the Quad Graphics plant nearby sponsored printing classes, equipment, etc. Print was a passion of mine early on, because of the programs available at my high school.

Did you take any courses in high school that were related to graphic communications, or that prepared you for your planned career?

Yes, I took as many as I could. Once I “ran out” of classes I became an aide for the entry level graphics classes, and assisted the teachers with those classes.

How do you think going through your education process prepared you for the workforce?

During both high school and college, our classes were very hands on. I was able to experience firsthand (from a technical standpoint) what it’s like to work in the industry, and through classes I also learned the business side.

In the Workforce Today

What company are you working for now and what types of products and services do they provide to their customers?

I am currently a Project Manager for Royle Printing located in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. We are a fast-growing commercial printer with web, sheetfed, and digital printing capabilities.

PGSF Donate NowWhat job did you first have with the company when you started, what position do you have now, and/or what else have you done since joining the company?

I started just over four years ago, and began as a Project Manager. Since then I have been involved in many process improvement groups, and am working to transition into a new position that allows me to focus more on process improvement within the company.

What do you think employers are looking for in today’s workforce and the current industry environment?

Experience isn’t always the key to landing the job, but rather someone willing to come in motivated, get their hands dirty and learn as they do. Companies want someone who is going to be determined to work hard, ask questions, and strive to make a positive impact for the company.

Is there anything that you have found to be particularly different from what you initially expected, now that you’ve progressed through your work career for a period of time?

When you’re sitting in class you sometimes wonder how what you’re learning is relevant to the real world. On a daily basis, I find myself relearning or working with some of the topics we studied in class. Don’t worry so much about how it will affect you in the long run, but rather take it all in and let it reveal itself to you later on down the road. It’s unreal how much it overlaps. Just because you graduate does not mean you stop learning, as work is a continuation of your education.

Have you changed your plans or ideas about what area or type of job you might like to have since you first considered the graphic communications field and began studying for a career in it?

When I first graduated, I was adamant about not wanting to do customer service, and yet, here I am. Being in this position is allowing me to learn how the company works on an intimate level. Having this experience is letting me become a multifaceted employee, and enabling a smooth transition into the process improvement role. It’s been a significant force in developing my skills to advance to other roles in the future.

What do you see yourself doing a few years from now?

I hope to be a manager over customer service or another related department so I can continue to look at the way we do things and improve them. I enjoy being a leader, and encourage people to “work smarter and not harder”.

Was being a recipient of a PGSF scholarship important, or did it have an impact on your future or ability to succeed in the industry?

It was truly a blessing. I come from a family with five children, and my parents lived paycheck to paycheck. I worked hard every summer to earn money for tuition, and continued to work multiple jobs throughout the school year. Being rewarded for my continued hard work in the class room allowed me to focus less on how to pay for it. It’s hard to put into words how thankful I am that I had that opportunity.

Print and Graphics Scholarship FoundationPGSF works to inform young people about the opportunities that are available in the graphic arts industry and then support them during their educational phase. To learn more about PGSF, or how you can support its work, visit www.pgsf.org or contact John Berthelsen at jberthelsen@printing.org. PGSF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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