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Editor's Note

Summer School

Now’s your chance to help your company, a student and yourself.

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SCHOOL’S OUT FOR summer,” as Alice Cooper first sang in the ’70s — already for most college students. High school kids will follow around the end of this month. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that summer help can alleviate at least some aspects of the labor shortage everyone’s generally experiencing.

However, it does take smarts to also see it as an opportunity to inspire a young person to consider entering the sign business after graduation. With so many sign companies all over also reporting extreme difficulty in hiring “the right people,” why not dedicate part of your summer to starting to mold a “right person” yourself?

Few things sharpen the mind more than teaching, and in doing so, you may unlock new or better methods for some tasks or procedures due to your training sessions. Your summer helper should also appreciate doing some “real signwork” in addition to sweeping up or filing. That appreciation could develop into something more.

I’ll always remember the first intern I worked with, who was great. At the end of the internship, she said, “I really appreciated this and learned a lot, but I also learned I don’t want to go into publishing.” That’s OK, too; although, I later found out she had taken a job in publishing. You never know.

I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating: Whether or not a student returns to your company or any shop as an employee, the sign industry needs this. Give it a try this summer.

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5 Smart Tips from This Issue

  1. You can open a multifaceted sign business for less than $10K. (Tech Products, p. 16)
  2. Start small in soft signage, printing what you can and contracting dye sub prints. (So Fab, So Fine, p. 20)
  3. Process many signmaking materials (metals, wood, plastics and more) using CNC routers. (A Cut Above, p. 30)
  4. Check your “dashboard numbers” daily, quarterly and annually to keep your sign business running smoothly. (Maggie Harlow, p. 43)
  5. Address recent cost increases: speak to customers, raise your prices and your wages. (Dale Salamacha, p. 44)
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