The Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) and its partners are organizing a first-of-its-kind education program for high school students, with the aim of finding new talent for the industry in the midst of a national shortage of bench jewelers.
Jewelers Mutual Group is exclusively sponsoring the program to prepare high schoolers for jewelry and gemologist careers. It is scheduled to begin in the school year just getting started (2023–24), according to an Aug. 30 joint statement from the organizations.
The Brooklyn STEAM Center will work with BIJC to develop the curriculum, covering bench jewelry skills such as gem setting, laser repair, casting, and molding, said BIJC president Annie Doresca. Classes will be held at the Brooklyn STEAM Center, starting in October and expanding to the the full bench-jeweler program in the spring.
“Our collective goal is to make it known that these jobs exist and there’s a real need for new bench jeweler talent in the industry,” Doresca said in a statement. “Jewelers Mutual’s support helps open up a new world of possibilities for students from all walks of life to fabricate their own unique designs in a studio into stunning, wearable works of art.”
Jewelers Mutual sought to develop this program to give students knowledge about jewelry-making and the world of precious metals and gemstones, something they can develop into a career or a lifelong hobby, officials say.
“We are incredibly proud of our 110-year legacy of support to the jewelry industry, and we are excited about this opportunity to join with the Black in Jewelry Coalition and Brooklyn STEAM Center to make a positive impact on the industry and the next generation of jewelers,” said Mike Alexander, chief operating officer at Jewelers Mutual.
(Image courtesy of BIJC)
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