The office technology industry partners with The Mariano Rivera Foundation to prepare young people for careers in the copier, graphics, and production print fields.
Luis Villa, vice president of production print at Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office, likes to think big. When Atlantic partnered with The Mariano Rivera Foundation’s mentorship program to provide underserved minority youth with the skills necessary to service MFPs, he saw an opportunity to go wider, deeper, and bigger with this education.
Above: Mariano Rivera with Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office Luis Villa
In June, The Cannata Report attended a golf outing at the Westchester Country Club in White Plains, New York, held to raise funds to build the 40,000 square-foot Mariano Rivera Learning Center in New Rochelle, New York. The construction team broke ground for the Center in early August with plans to complete the project within 12 to 18 months. The facility will provide guidance, educational resources, and vocational training to help underserved minority youth succeed in higher education and establish careers in high-demand fields.
Above: Lisa Vega, executive director of The Mariano Rivera Foundation
“We need a location in New Rochelle where students can come and have recreational activities, and at the same time a place to help them be successful in the future,” said Lisa Vega, executive director of The Mariano Rivera Foundation.
Founded in 1998 by the New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher and his wife Clara, The Mariano Rivera Foundation provides young people with life skills and educational opportunities that prepare them to succeed in life. Rivera originally connected with Atlantic President Larry Weiss last year about adding vocational training to the organization’s programming after Weiss mentioned that an opportunity existed within his network to provide these skills. Rivera didn’t want to wait for the Center to be built to work with the young people in New Rochelle; he wanted to start as soon as possible. A pilot program at the Foundation’s Gainesville, Florida, location is currently underway, spearheaded by Vega and Esther Omeben, program director. Youth participating in the program receive one-on-one mentorship along with the vocational training.
Above: The Mariano Rivera Foundation was established to help at-risk youth succeed in life and in their careers.
“We piloted here since we don’t have this ability in New Rochelle, but we plan to pilot a secondary mentorship program in New York,” said Vega.
There’s also a possibility that the mentorship program and vocational training in the New Rochelle area will take place at Atlantic’s Tarrytown, New York, location while the Center is under construction.
In addition to Atlantic, Electronics for Imaging, Idealliance, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., and Ricoh USA are also assisting with vocational training. These organizations provide onsite instructors, as well as certification curriculum classes, to prepare students for careers in the print industry in such positions as field service support, operators, and pre-press positions. Villa specifically cited Jim Coriddi, vice president of the dealer division at Ricoh USA; Jordan Gorski, executive director at Idealliance; Frank Mallozzi, chief revenue officer at EFI; and Dino Pagliarello, senior vice president of product management and planning at Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. for their support.
Above: Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office’s Larry Weiss had a great time during the golf tournament, especially since his team own.
In addition to Villa and Weiss (whose team won the golf tournament), the office imaging industry was well represented at the June 28th event by Coriddi and Pagliarello. It was gratifying to witness the imaging industry step up and partner with an organization like The Mariano Rivera Foundation, not only in helping the organization break new ground literally but also break new ground figuratively with these mentoring and training initiatives.
Above: Rivera with Konica Minolta’s Dino Pagliarello (left)
Konica Minolta laid the groundwork for this initiative by educating the instructors for the computer-based training classes for copier service in the program. Then, Ricoh got involved and initiated a digital literacy program that provides students with training on color management, while Idealliance joined in to provide G7 training and certification. Students who complete this training can then apply for jobs with various certifications that entry-level candidates typically don’t have when they start a job at a dealership or OEM.
Above: Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office Luis Villa photographs Ricoh’s Jim Coriddi and Rivera after the post-tournament luncheon.
“There’s a lot of vocational programs out there, but this program is producing candidates for employers that have recognized certification in the industry,” said Villa. “This way, the students can add value from day one as most dealers would not have this type of field certified technicians. That’s a big difference.”
The program Villa helped create for the Foundation is based on his production field support team at Atlantic. “We are the only production field support group with triple certifications,” said Villa. “No other support team for production in the United States can match us.”
The Foundation is creating certified copier technicians with knowledge of color output, as well as Fiery certifications. “Imagine a dealer or an OEM hiring an entry-level technician that has all these certifications,” said Villa. “That’s priceless because it just doesn’t happen.”
The next initiative is an Adobe-certified training center, which will be housed in the Learning Center in New Rochelle. Because this training will be certified by Adobe, the Foundation will offer this training to outside organizations and charge a fee for it.
Villa is not stopping there. Future plans include Six Sigma training for project management. “We’re taking this program and making it a vocational program unlike any in the industry,” emphasized Villa.
Meanwhile, Vega reported that the Foundation is working on expanding the vocational programs into other industries. During the golf outing, the owner of a drywall company offered to provide vocational training in the construction industry. And a staffing company plans to offer internships.
“Once we tell companies what we are doing and what we are trying to accomplish through this program, especially with the vocational training, there are quite a few companies that are willing to partner with us,” said Vega. “But right now, the main career path is through Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office and the field service technician training through Konica Minolta, digital literacy through Ricoh, and color management professional certification through Idealliance.”
Captions: Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office Luis Villa and Mariano Rivera
Villa photographs Ricoh’s Jim Coriddi and Rivera after the post-tournament luncheon and presentation.
Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office’s Larry Weiss had a great time during the golf tournament, especially since his team won.
Mariano Rivera takes time out for a photo op with Konica Minolta’s Dino Pagliarello.
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