In an effort to shape young minds and inspire future creativity, this June, SKM Group hosted a group of students and their instructor from the Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Graphic Design Program. The class toured the office, watched a brief presentation and heard from key agency personnel, who explained their roles and how a designer would fit into creative and client processes.
“In a few years, these kids will be hitting the streets and looking for their first job in the design field,” said Rob Murphy, SKM’s creative director. “I wanted to make sure they had an idea of what the job market was like and what kind of positions would be available for someone with their skill set.”
Murphy, who is originally from the area, held freelance and agency positions regionally and in Florida and New York City before and joining the SKM team. He stressed that it’s okay if young professionals feel the need to stretch their wings and move away for a bit, even if they end up realizing there’s no place like home.
Jon Koziol, traffic manager, talked to the group about how the account service and creative departments work together to produce materials for clients on time and on budget—and how his department keeps everyone on track. Jill Fecher, account director, explained how her experience as an intern at SKM led to a permanent position after graduation, her role in bringing new business to the agency, and the travel involved in raising awareness about SKM to potential clients across the country.
The presentation focused on SKM’s background, history, clients and examples of work. It ended by emphasizing to the students the importance of internships as a way of gaining experience while still in school, building a portfolio of work they’re most proud of, and carefully minding their online person by not posting pictures or opinions that may portray them in a negative light, since employers will check a potential candidate online.
“Thanks to the support of local businesses such as SKM Group, our programs are able to provide pathways to success,” said Candace Reimer, director of communication services for Erie 1 BOCES. “By interacting with the ‘working world,’ students can better identify their own career aspirations. At SKM, students walked away with many tips, both consciously and unconsciously, to help them better achieve their goals.”
Erie 1 BOCES is a regional public education service organization that provides quality, cost-effective educational services to school districts in New York State. The Graphic Design Program is a two year curriculum that focuses on state-of-the-art technology and traditional design principles to prepare students for careers in the graphics and printing industries.
Ah, being a role model and imparting our wisdom to the next generation. Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.