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What is Workforce Development?

Rachel Tindall | Jun 09, 2022

Workforce development is one of the most important parts of any organization, but especially those like CEDIA. Being a global membership association means providing our members and partners resources and connections. It means forging a new network, talking to people, and facilitating both business and professional growth.

It’s a large undertaking even just to define the term – not everyone agrees on what it means – so it’s no wonder people are often confused about what workforce development looks like in practice.

The Definition Depends on Who You Ask

There isn’t one universally accepted definition of workforce development; however, in its most basic form, it’s a holistic set of activities, programs, and policies that government agencies, academic institutions, community organizations, and businesses use to create, sustain, and retain a viable workforce that can support current and future economic activities.

In simpler terms, it’s how businesses and other agencies connect with, train, and retain their workforce.

This looks a little different for the various types of organizations because people aren’t the same. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for providing professional development.

For practitioners who actively work on developing the workforce in their industry, workforce development includes:

  • Career exploration for students & job seekers
  • Skills training
  • Facilitating credential attainment, including stackable certifications like CEDIA’s CIT and IST programs
  • Upskilling professionals who are already in careers
  • Seeking and providing employment with competitive wages & benefits
  • Seeking and providing advancements & wage gains

Practitioners focus on an individual’s full talents and capabilities, as well as things like work/life balance, fair compensation, and growth opportunities.

In terms of the workforce, ideal employers consider the following when creating a workforce development strategy:

  • Holistic talent recruitment
  • Development based on what’s mutually beneficial to employees and employers
  • Retention of good workers
  • Advancement that fits the needs of the employer and is in alignment with employees’ desired career path

There are some companies who try to find the cheapest labor possible; however, the businesses that thrive and continue to grow are those who base their workforce development on standards and values like those of the ideal employer.

How Does CEDIA Fit into the Picture?

As the residential systems industry association, CEDIA fully believes that a skilled workforce is the lifeblood of any industry, and 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.”

CEDIA has a vested interest in ensuring industry companies can efficiently and effectively attract, develop, and retain skilled talent. Workforce development is a core component of CEDIA’s operating strategy - the goal being to ensure industry stakeholders have a sustainable pipeline of skilled talent that meets or exceeds industry needs.

Current workforce development strategies include:

  • Building strategic community relationships
  • Partnering with sister associations to provide education about our industry
  • Training, credentialing, and upskilling jobseekers through holistic occupational skills training programs
  • Connecting CEDIA certified jobseekers to employers through online & in-person networking opportunities
  • Providing CEDIA member companies with resources to build capacity that will help them become more proficient in attracting, developing, and retaining skilled talent
  • Developing employer-lead apprenticeship standards - the new Apprenticeship Standards are tailored to specific job roles, making them flexible to employer needs

There may not be a set definition of workforce development, but we here at CEDIA work hard each day to better the industry through connection and education. We help job seekers and employers connect, and facilitate new opportunities for the industry, which benefits everyone – not just members.