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Career and Education Opportunities for Printing Press Machine Operators in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for printing press machine operators in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. There are currently 7,910 jobs for printing press machine operators in Wisconsin and this is projected to grow by 9% to 8,640 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for printing press machine operators are expected to shrink by about 5.5%. In general, printing press machine operators set up or operate various types of printing machines, such as offset, letterset, or gravure presses or screen printers to produce print on paper or other materials.

Printing press machine operators earn about $16 per hour or $35,300 annually on average in Wisconsin and about $15 per hour or $32,170 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for printing press machine operators are better than in the overall category of Book Binding and Printing in Wisconsin, and better than the overall Book Binding and Printing category nationally.

There are thirty-nine schools of higher education in the Milwaukee area, including two within twenty-five miles of Milwaukee where you can get a degree to start your career as a printing press machine operator. The most common level of education for printing press machine operators is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a printing press machine operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Printing Press Machine Operator

Printing Press Machine Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, printing press machine operators set up or operate various types of printing machines, such as offset, letterset, or gravure presses or screen printers to produce print on paper or other materials.

Printing press machine operators push buttons, turn handles or move controls and levers to start and control printing machines. They also reposition printing plates, adjust pressure rolls, or otherwise adjust machines to further optimize print quality, using knobs, handwheels, or hand tools. Equally important, printing press machine operators have to set and adjust speed, temperature and positions and pressure tolerances of equipment. They are often called upon to clean and lubricate printing machines and components, using oil, solvents, brushes, rags, and hoses. They are expected to decide on and install printing plates and cylinders in machines according to given requirements, using hand tools. Finally, printing press machine operators pour or spread paint, ink and other materials into reservoirs or color holders of printing units, making measurements and adjustments to control color and viscosity.

Every day, printing press machine operators are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for printing press machine operators to blend and test paint, inks and solvents in line with types of material being printed and work order specifications. They are often called upon to remove printed materials from presses, using handtrucks, electric lifts, or hoists, and transport them to drying, storage or finishing areas. They also inspect and examine printed products for print clarity, color accuracy, conformance to given requirements, and external defects. They are sometimes expected to monitor stocks of materials such as paper and metal to maintain supplies during equipment operation. Somewhat less frequently, printing press machine operators are also expected to monitor feeding and racking processes of presses to maintain specified operating levels and to uncover malfunctions, making adjustments as needed.

Printing press machine operators sometimes are asked to pack and label cartons, boxes, or bins of finished products. They also have to be able to ready and treat lithographic plates with various chemicals to wash and preserve plates and fix images and attach cloth to take-up rollers, placing it in feeding position and threading it through equipment as needed. And finally, they sometimes have to reposition printing plates, adjust pressure rolls, or otherwise adjust machines to further optimize print quality, using knobs, handwheels, or hand tools.

Like many other jobs, printing press machine operators must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Milwaukee include:

  • Bindery Worker. Set up or operate binding machines that produce books and other printed materials.
  • Decorative Painter. Paint, coat, or decorate articles, such as furniture, glass, or leather.
  • Dental Laboratory Technician. Construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.
  • Engraver. Engrave or etch metal, wood, or other materials for identification or decorative purposes. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers, and silk screen etchers.
  • Prepress Technician. Set up and prepare material for printing presses.
  • Tool and Die Maker. Analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, and machinists' hand tools.
  • Woodworking Machine Setter and Operator. Set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, and wood nailing machines.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Printing Press Machine Operator Training

Milwaukee Area Technical College - Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee Area Technical College, 700 W State St, Milwaukee, WI 53233-1443. Milwaukee Area Technical College is a large college located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 18,780 students and an admission rate of 54%. Milwaukee Area Technical College has 2 areas of study related to Printing Press Machine Operator. They are:

  • Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production, one to two year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Graphic Communications, Other Specialties, one to two year and associate's degree.

Waukesha County Technical College - Pewaukee, WI

Waukesha County Technical College, 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI 53072-4601. Waukesha County Technical College is a medium sized college located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,955 students. Waukesha County Technical College has a one to two year program in Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Basic Flexographer (Level 1): The "Basic Flexographer" classification (Level I) has been developed to provide recognition of those who have rudimentary knowledge of the industry or are entry level personnel.

For more information, see the Flexographic Technical Association website.

National Certification for Flexographic Press Operators: Endorsed and funded by the Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association (FFTA), the Flexographic Press Skill Standards and Flexographic Press Operator's Multi-Color Certification Examination were designed and developed by the National Council for Skill Standards in Graphic Communications (NC).

For more information, see the The National Council for Skill Standards in Graphic Communications website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin photo by Towpilot

Milwaukee is located in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 604,477, which has grown by 1.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Milwaukee, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Milwaukee cost $167,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, ninety-six new homes were built in Milwaukee, down from one hundred sixty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Milwaukee are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is administrative and support and waste management services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 18.3% of Milwaukee residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Milwaukee is 10.6%, which is greater than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Milwaukee residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of the Epiphany, Saint Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church and German Full Gospel Church are among the churches located in Milwaukee. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Milwaukee is home to the Caroline Hall and the Wood as well as Cannon Park and Fifth Ward Playground. Shopping malls in the area include Juneau Village Shopping Center, Times Square Shopping Center and Grand Avenue Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Milwaukee can choose from Edge-O-Town Motel, Manor House Hotel and Days Inn West Allis for temporary stays in the area.