Hiring for Commercial Letterpress
- Our senior pressman is moving on to grad school and it has highlighted
a challenge. He was a good friend from college and was my first
employee. He grew in experience as the company grew. Now we must
replace him with an experienced printer. Our shop has grown to a scale
where it is difficult to bring in someone green and get them up to
speed. The challenge is that the interest in our job opening seems to
be from only the novice level.
There is a real hiring challenge the world of letterpress. It seems
like there are precious few people out there with commercial
letterpress experience. I speculate that as other production methods
have swallowed up letterpress shops, there is a shortage of press
operators that can produce fine printing on a letterpress.
The spectrum of current press training spans college and studio arts
programs that train primarily on Vandercooks and trade or technical
schools that train people for commercial finishing work. Commercial
letterpress seems to land in the middle someplace. There is a big
difference in lovingly producing work on a Vandercook and the
technical ability to crank out 30m impressions a day on a Heidelberg.
The primary growth in letterpress interest today is from the DIY
Graphic Designer. Heck, that is where I started nearly ten years ago.
The disconnect is that while these DIY folks love the letterpress
process, they do not really want a job running a press in a commercial
print shop. Do they?
So the questions are, - Are there other commercial shop owners facing
this struggle? Any hiring tips? Any suggestions on where to look for
people? Are you experienced and looking for job change?
If anyone would like to receive our job description to review or post
on your schools bulletin board please contact me offlist and I will
pass it along.