By Michelle Graff
Attleboro, Mass.--With many baby boomer generation jewelers heading into retirement, the MJSA Education Foundation has developed a new initiative to introduce more young people to the field of jewelry making.

A partnership with the New Approach School for Jewelers, MJSA’s “Be A Jeweler” program is multi-faceted.

First, the website,, offers a five-minute video of young bench jewelers talking about why they chose that career path. It also offers information on a bench jeweler’s typical job duties, skills needed and the work environment.

The site also invites aspiring bench jewelers to speak with program mentors, who can answer questions and provide guidance, as well as a list of MJSA member schools that offer training for practical bench skills.

Second, the website is meant to be used as a prop for mentors, who can use it on social media, in emails and when speaking face-to-face with school guidance offices, young people or during presentations at civic events. A hand-out also will be available to be passed on to young people, parents and teachers.

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The program then encourages the people who mentors identify as having the greatest potential to either go on to a trade school, or apply to attend the 2015 Be A Jeweler Summer Program.

The four-day event is being designed by Blaine Lewis, owner of the Franklin, Tenn.-based New Approach School for Jewelers, and will introduce to attendees the basic tasks of jewelry making: sawing, filing, torch use, stone setting, CAD/CAM and casting.

A “career day” during the summer program will showcase various trade schools and future job opportunities.

“The industry needs to replenish its workforce with new blood,” says Peggy Jo Donahue, director of the MJSA Education Foundation. “We lost almost an entire generation of younger jewelry makers over the past 30 years, due to overseas jewelry manufacturing and the fact that many retail jewelers stopped offering bench services.”

For more information, contact Donahue at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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