Finding qualified employees has emerged as one of the quick-printing industry's biggest headaches. Experts say competent press operators are in especially short supply, fueling the trend toward high-volume photocopiers, which require less skilled labor.
"We're not finding the schools turning out any skilled labor for us," said L. Thomas Carns, owner of a Las Vegas quick-printing store and president of the Chicago-based National Assn. of Quick Printers.
According to the NAQP, the typical press operator earns between $13,000 and $14,600. Hiring a well-trained press operator is essential both to producing cleanly printed documents and, often, to a store's financial success, an NAQP spokesman said. "One of the things that separates the good versus the schlocky is the people you can hire on."
More Southern California community colleges now offer courses in printing technology, however, and this may be easing the shortage, said Lowe, chief executive of Sir Speedy.