GAERF Supports Top Graphic Arts Competitors at SkillsUSA

Students, Teachers and Industry Work Together to Develop Best and Brightest Future Workforce at SkillsUSA National Championship

Reston, VA — The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) recently recognized talented Graphic Communications contestants from across the country who participated in the SkillsUSA 53rd Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) Championships, held June 19-23 in Louisville, Ky. The largest skills competition in the world, the annual SkillsUSA event showcases over 6,000 of the best career and technical education students in the nation, with each a first-place state medalist in their category among the 100 competition areas for career and technical students.

In addition to prizes awarded to the 2017 national winners by competition sponsors, GAERF provided a $250 scholarship to each of the 23 Graphic Communications contestants. GAERF President Thayer Long states, “Supporting effective initiatives such as the SkillsUSA competition, which recognizes superior training and talent, is essential to the growth and future of the Graphic Communications Industry. It is truly inspiring to see the high caliber of students represented among this year’s competitors and winners.”

Graphic Communications contestants worked against the clock, and each other, in several competency areas, according to industry standards, including: Graphic Communications Assessment, Production Planning, Digital Workflow, Digital Press, Offset Press Operation, Finishing, and Oral Professional Assessment.

Medalists for the Graphic Communications Competition (High School level):

  • Gold – Haylee Cooper, Diman RVTHS, Fall River, MA
  • Silver – Cody Brown, R W Johnson High School, Gainesville, GA
  • Bronze – Lexi Hengeveld, Carroll County Career & Tech Center, Westminster, MD

Medalists for the Graphic Communications Competition (College level):

  • Gold – Brittany Whitestone, Carroll County Career & Tech Center, Westminster, MD
  • Silver – Cheyanne Kasmierski, Thaddeus Stevens College of Tech, Lancaster, PA
  • Bronze – Daniel Long, Riverside Community College, Riverside, CA

The SkillsUSA partnership of students, teachers and industry works together to ensure a skilled workforce for the future. According to Mike Stinnett, GAERF’s Technical Committee representative and former instructor at Royal Oak High School in Michigan, “The Graphic Communications Contest has our best-trained students being taught by our most devoted teachers.”

The Graphic Communications Competition was produced with the help of dedicated volunteers, and sponsored by: Atlas Die, Baumfolder, EFI, GAERF, Heidelberg USA, RRD, Print Craft Supply, Printing Industries of America, LSC Communications, Quad/Graphics, and Xerox.

For more information about GAERF and its support of the SkillsUSA Championships contact GAERF Director Margie Garr at email:, or phone: 703/264-7200.

The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation was founded in 1983 by Idealliance (formerly Epicomm), NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies, and the Printing Industries of America. GAERF’s mission is to develop the next generation workforce for the graphic arts industry. GAERF is managed and directed by NPES from their headquarters in Reston, Virginia. For more information, visit:

About SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry working to ensure America has the skilled workforce it needs. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 300,000 member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state, and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, visit:

Source: NPES