Prairie State Group Embraces FTA’s FIRST Operator Certification Program

Embarks on Company-Wide Training Initiative

June 25, 2012 – “Easy to access.” “Intuitive to use” “Hands-down, one of the best ways to learn flexo.” Prairie State Group employees are talking about their early experience with FTA’s FIRST Press Operator, Prepress Operator and Implementation Specialist Certification programs. In fact, the group’s mentor, Daniel P. Doherty, company principle, says, “The strong training and education that the FIRST Operator Certification program provides will help Prairie State Group grow, advance and continue to be a world-class organization.” He’s confident in making that strong promise because it’s cemented in FIRST’s solid reputation for getting things right and achieving quality, consistent, and repeatable results every time.

Prairie State Group, FTA member and custom printer and laminator of flexible packaging and pressure sensitive labels, has partnered with Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) to implement the Association’s FIRST Operator Certification training program on a company-wide level.

Beginning this month, roughly 50 percent of the Franklin Park, IL Prairie State Group personnel, representing press operators, production coordinators, quality assurance personnel, estimators, press helpers and customer service representatives, will begin Level I of the FIRST Operator Certification program, hosted online via FTA’s TEST Virtual Campus.

As the flexo industry’s leading training and educational initiative, FTA’s FIRST Operator Certification offers three, 3-level certification programs. Each program leverages proven e-learning technology to empower working professionals to hone their expertise and give their plant a decided advantage over the competition. Users can choose to become Press Operator certified, Prepress Operator certified and/or Implementation Specialist Certified.

“We are excited to make this investment for our employees and for our company,” said Doherty. He added, “As an organization, we are always looking to advance. We buy new technology. We investigate better ways to improve set-ups. We upgrade our IT software…the list goes on and on. But the most important asset we have is our employees. The strong training and education that the FIRST Operator Certification program provides will help Prairie State Group grow, advance and continue to be a world-class organization.”

Prairie State Group first tested the waters when it sent three employees through the program. Those employees now hold FIRST Press Operator, Prepress Operator and Implementation Specialist certifications. It was their positive feedback that propelled the organization’s decision to move forward, resulting in a commitment to educate a total of 49 associates.

Randy Crutchfield, pressroom manager, FIRST Implementation Specialist certified, said, “The FIRST Operator Certification program is a great way to educate everyone on the critical and central principles of flexography. I especially like that it is a web-based training tool that is easy to access, intuitive to use, and has the very latest flexographic technical material to learn and implement.”

Charles Strezo, prepress manager, FIRST Prepress Operator certified, had this to say, “The program is hands down one of the best ways to learn flexo, from anilox to vignette and everything in between.”

About Prairie State Group

Prairie State Group specializes in mid-narrow web flexible packaging applications that range from surface printed product to high barrier laminated materials. Our pressure sensitive labeling division, Prairie State Graphics, Inc., allows the flexibility of running very small test market applications to tens of millions of labels. Both divisions cover numerous markets including food/beverage, household products, paint, personal care, and private label applications. We are a completely self-contained operation that includes state-of-the-art design capabilities, prepress functions, digital platemaking, and printing. Our equipment gives us the luxury of handling all aspects of a job in-house. Therefore, we can assure high quality, cost competitiveness, and on time delivery.


About FTA/FFTA: Flexographic Technical Association (FTA), chartered in 1958, is a professional society dedicated to bringing all members of the flexographic printing community—printers, suppliers, consumer product companies, institutions, prepress houses and others--together by providing opportunities for the free exchange of technical ideas and discussion of mutual concerns. It is a proponent of maintaining and advancing quality standards and includes 1,650 member sites that represent more than 1,400 companies and 60,000 individuals. Foundation of FTA, founded in 1974, is the educational arm of FTA and is dedicated to supporting and advancing the flexographic printing industry.