A skilled workforce is the lifeblood of any industry, not to mention the companies that operate within them. According to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), “Associations are essential providers of professional education and credentials, and they must play a leading role in workforce training and development.” So, how exactly can CEDIA -- a global industry association with member companies in 78 countries and a staff of less than 50 mostly located in the American Midwest -- facilitate meaningful workforce development-related experiences for everyone from students with no work experience to industry veterans?
The answer is that it can’t, at least not by itself, and not in an industry where most workers are or will need to become skilled tradespeople capable of installing, programming, maintaining, and continually updating complex integrated systems. For folks to truly understand the systems integration industry, especially the local industry where they live; what it’s like to wear various hats in the industry; and grow their career in the industry, they need immersive hands-on learning and mentoring experiences provided by individuals who know the industry (the more local the better) inside and out. Consequently, the only scalable way for CEDIA to tackle workforce development at a level needed to impact the entire industry is through local partnerships.
A partnership in its most basic form is a group of people working together to accomplish a common goal. However, a common requirement for all successful partnerships is that they be mutually beneficial. According to “thought leaders” from multiple industries, the following are few benefits that entities from all sectors can receive from successful partnerships:
- Increased Opportunities for Free or Low-cost Media Attention/Coverage: Various groups working together can be exciting/newsworthy, especially to local news organizations!
- More Brand Awareness and Loyalty: More media attention/coverage plus networking with individuals and groups not traditionally viewed as core constituency groups is bound to create future “I’ve heard of them” moments.
- Enhanced Credibility: Partnering with well-known and well-respected entities at different levels (local, state, national, international, and so on) can help validate each partner’s efforts and validate credibility in a different way.
- Increased Demand/Sales for/of Services, Programs, or Products: More people in the know means more potential clients/customers.
- Enhanced Employee and Potential Employee Relations: Business-minded folks from various industries interacting with mission-driven folks from different types of organizations (and vice versa) is bound to create meaningful interaction and thoughtful learning moments.
- More Volunteer Engagement Opportunities: Relationships developed via initial partnerships will surely lead to discussions on how the existing partnerships can be sustained and advanced.
Here are some recent wins for CEDIA in this universe:
Education Partner Program (Formerly ATP -- and CESIT before that):
The Education Partner Program allows CEDIA to partner with a variety of institutions to bring CEDIA training that leads to industry-recognized credentials to local audiences.
CEDIA is currently working with the following Industry Education Partners to skill-up existing industry members:
CEDIA is currently working with the following Community Education Partners whose skills training programs lead to CEDIA credentials:
- Orange Technical College – Orlando, Florida: Orange Technical College is Central Florida's premier technical education provider. CEDIA educational programming that leads to credentials is offered as part of Orange Technical College’s Electronic Systems Integration and Automation program, which is approved by the Florida Department of Education for use at publicly funded educational institutions in the State of Florida.
- Pinellas Technical College – Clearwater, Florida: Pinellas Technical College is Tampa Bay’s premier technical education provider. CEDIA educational programming that leads to credentials is offered as part of Pinellas Technical College’s Electronic Systems Integration and Automation program, which is approved by the Florida Department of Education for use at publicly funded educational institutions in the State of Florida.
- AV Technology Institute – Detroit, Michigan: AV Technology Institute is licensed by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to deliver private post-secondary technical education programs. CEDIA educational programming that leads to credentials is offered as part of AV Technology’s low voltage electronic installation, repair, and integration program.
Community Ambassador Program
The Community Ambassador Program will empower and equip CEDIA members to become community ambassadors who will be deployed to promote industry education and career pathways in local communities. Members of CEDIA’s Workforce Development Working Group (WDWG) will serve as the first set of community ambassadors with many more to be added. In addition to promoting industry career pathways in local communities, ambassadors will be tasked with executing student engagement activities at industry events like ISE, Expo, and Tech Summits. CEDIA members across the globe are already “unofficially” acting as ambassadors and this program will help them better connect CEDIA to local communities.
UK Smart Home Apprenticeship
The UK Smart Home Apprenticeship Program is a government program that provides funding to employers to hire apprentices and educational providers to deliver training at apprentice employer sites. CEDIA has developed a partnership with a training provider (Skills4Stem) in Bedford, England, in a similar manner to how we are partnering with education groups in the Education Partner Program.
UK Kickstart Scheme
The UK Kickstart Scheme is a government program that provides funding to employers to create new job placements for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. CEDIA is working to make our members aware of this program and the financial incentives that they can receive from it.
For more on how to partner with CEDIA on any or all of the above initiatives, please contact Tommy Tabor, CEDIA’s Director of Workforce Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.