Jostens, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based provider of custom class jewelry, graduation products and yearbooks serving the K-12 and college education markets, has joined the ranks of companies around the world to manufacture essential health and safety products to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Jostens is leveraging the technology and manufacturing know-how of its graduation product and apparel facilities to manufacture non-surgical cloth face masks and Level I disposable isolation gowns. The company has been working with partners and government officials since the inception of Covid-19 to assist in local and national efforts to keep communities safe.
Thousands of non-surgical cloth face masks are being produced and distributed out of the company’s plants in Laurens, South Carolina, and its NEFF letter jacket and apparel facility in the Dominican Republic. The Laurens facility expects to be operating at a capacity of 8,500 masks/week, with its NEFF facility producing masks at an even greater rate.
“We’re working with primary and secondary partners to make and distribute as many masks as possible,” said Diosnedy Estevez, Jostens NEFF plant manager who is orchestrating efforts out of the Dominican Republic. “As a designated essential business in our community, it’s our responsibility and our honor to do everything we can.”
In addition to the production of non-surgical masks, Jostens is preparing for the production of up to 120,000 Level I disposable medical gowns per month out of its Maco-Mex facility in Aguascalientes, Mexico—a facility designed to produce high school and college graduation gowns. Maco-Mex and Jostens have a nearly 30-year partnership in producing and distributing graduation gowns and regalia.
“We’ve been producing high quality graduation regalia for decades,” said Paul Dowden, SVP of global operations at Jostens. “Applying our experience, technology and capacity to the production of these important Level I gowns is something our entire team has embraced, and we’re honored to get both our graduates, and now our health service professionals, the types of gowns they need as quickly as possible.”
This is not the first time Jostens has leveraged its people and expertise to assist in times of civic need. For example, during World War II Jostens contributed to the war effort by adapting its jewelry plant and equipment to manufacture precision parts and other materials. For its efforts, Jostens received an exclusive “Excellence in Production Award,” also known as the Army-Navy Production Award. The “E-Award” was earned by only a small subset of companies involved in producing materials for the U.S. military’s war efforts.
“For over 120 years we’ve played an active role in the school communities we support, and throughout that time we’ve had opportunities to apply our time, talent and technologies to national and global efforts as well,” said Michael Burgess, Jostens CEO. “While unique in its own right, the opportunity to assist in our country’s Covid-19 response is one we are familiar with and honored to pursue.”