Graphic Communication Program Competes in National Competition

Posted on Categories Business, Community, Workforce Engagement, Career Development & Postsecondary Prep, Career Information and Exploration, Engagement, Industry Certifications, Student Engagement

Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County:  Graphic Communication Program Competes in National Competition 

At a Glance

Students in the graphic communication program at the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County (CTCLC) participated in the Phoenix Challenge Foundation for the Flexographic Printing Industry competition.


In April 2018, four CTCLC graphic communication students and their instructor traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to compete in the annual Phoenix Challenge Foundation competition. The Phoenix Challenge Foundation is a graphics organization focused on encouraging youths to explore careers in the Flexographic printing organization. (See for more details.) CTCLC was the only school from Pennsylvania that competed in the national event. While at the event, the students and teacher toured a Genpak® facility (a large Flexographic company) that prints the bags used at McDonald’s restaurants. Students observed the real-world application of the skills they develop in class.

The Graphic Communication OAC members, instructor, students and the school administration all played a role in affording the students the opportunity to participate in the competition. Due to the substantial growth of the package printing sector of the printing industry, the Graphic Communication OAC recommended that the program add Flexographic Technology tasks to the program’s POS task list. While researching the specific tasks, the current Commercial and Advertising Design instructor (formerly the Graphic Communications instructor) learned about the Phoenix Challenge Foundation.  The Foundation flew the teacher out to the 2017 competition so that she could observe the event and discuss its merits with instructors whose students already participated. After the visit, the teacher, OAC members and school administrators decided that CTCLC students should participate in the event.

Through participation in the Foundation, CTCLC students learn skills that the printing business needs its employees to have, but that are typically are not taught in a high school program. Furthermore, the Foundation provides the graphic communication program with equipment at no cost so that students can receive training. It donated a press, which if purchased new would have cost the school approximately $100,000, repairs and a technician as needed.  The Foundation and suppliers within the flexographic industry also provide all the consumable supplies to the program.

CTCLC plans to continue addressing Flexographic Technology tasks in its graphic communication program and participating in the Phoenix Challenge Foundation competition.


At the competition, two CTCLC students placed second at the Phoenix Challenge Foundation in a chemistry test for inks used in the printing industry.

The implementation of the Flexographic Technology tasks to the graphic communication program have created additional opportunities for the students and teacher. For example, students will have an opportunity to earn an industry certification for the technology. The teacher edited a new textbook that is being written for the industry.


Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County

Rebecca Rinella-Hayden, Commercial and Advertising Design Instructor