As many in industry can attest, it’s not easy to find a good bench jeweler. This is why the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA) has recently unveiled its BEaJEWELER initiative to help raise awareness about the bench jeweler profession in the hope that it will increase its ranks in years to come.
Armed with financial and operational support from a 2015 JCK Industry Fund grant, as well as additional support from the MJSA Education Foundation and the New Approach School, BEaJEWELER.com features a short video of young bench jewelers talking about why they chose to the profession, a guide to trade schools that teach bench skills, information about the day-to-day tasks of a bench jeweler, and information for the trade on how to mentor an aspiring jeweler. Handouts are also available for schools.
This initiative became a reality to address the challenge of retiring baby boomer jewelers coupled with an apparent void in skilled labor in the market at a time when industry needs more to accommodate a strong consumer desire for custom departments and U.S.-based production.
“The industry needs to replenish its workforce with new blood,” says Peggy Jo Donahue, MJSA Education Foundation director. “We lost almost an entire generation of younger jewelrymakers over the past 30 years, due to overseas jewelry manufacturing and the fact that many retail jewelers stopped offering bench services.”
Plus, students can apply to attend the 2015 BEaJEWELER Summer Program, a four-day educational opportunity that is being designed by Blaine Lewis, owner of the New Approach School for Jewelers in Franklin, Tenn.
To donate to the initiative or obtain more information, contact Donahue at email@example.com.