Phoenix Challenge Foundation boosts flexo industry

“Our only goal is to build tomorrow's workforce for flexo,” explains Bettylyn Krafft.

With the workforce challenge wreaking havoc on the label and package printing industry, the Phoenix Challenge Foundation (PCF) has emerged as a leading source of growth. As many flexographers retire, print shops are struggling to find qualified personnel to assume these roles. PCF, however, has established a mission that promotes growth of flexographic printing in the educational systems throughout North America.

“Our only goal is to build tomorrow's workforce for flexo,” explains Bettylyn Krafft, executive director, Phoenix Challenge Foundation. “With the industry so critical to every brand and brand space, it is somewhat obscure when it comes to recruiting and attracting good talent.”

PCF has prioritized two ongoing strategies. First, the goal is to collaborate with industry suppliers and converters in building relationships with high schools, technical schools, and colleges and universities in order to sustain and further build awareness of the flexo industry and its professional opportunities. Secondly, PCF strives to create innovative and challenging programs that showcase the student talent, expose students to the extensive reach of the flexo industry while providing networking and relationships between students and the industry. 

For the past 27 years, PCF has been an integral driver of flexographic success throughout North America. “From our humble beginnings with a vision of Diann Teague and unwavering support and deep devotion to education from Ron and Katherine Harper, the Phoenix Challenge has gone from a single High School Skills competition to two broad-reaching multi-high school and multi-college annual competition programs,” says Krafft. “From those first groups of high school students for the first 10 years, the organization has exposed more than 6,000 students to the industry directly through our events and programs. Today, more than 700 of these students, that we know of, are actively working, building careers and long-standing relationships with the industry. Hundreds of these young professionals support converters and suppliers alike, from the pressroom floor to laboratories to C-suite executive level.”
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