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Bridging the Workforce Gap

One year after its debut, CEDIA NextGen is being used globally to empower and inform young people about opportunities in the smart home industry.

CEDIA NextGen Smart Home Career Toolkit Logo

During ISE 2023, CEDIA emphasized its commitment to workforce development by introducing the CEDIA NextGen: Smart Home Career Toolkit. A year later, recruiting and educating fresh talent for the industry remains a primary goal for the association.

Research from the CEDIA 2023 Professional Smart Home Market Analysis revealed that nearly half of respondents noted the effects of workforce and labor shortages on their businesses. Additionally, more than 50 percent anticipate the need to onboard a technical professional within the coming year.

Filling the Gap

CEDIA NextGen: Smart Home Career Toolkit is designed to help integrators forge connections with local talent pipelines. The kit includes ready-to-use resources employers can present to colleges, trade schools, government agencies, community centers, and more. Community outreach assets include:

  • Informative and energetic industry promotional video
  • Presentations explaining the industry and viable career pathways
  • Quick-facts one-sheet
  • Jobseeker brochure
  • Print-ready promotional poster
  • Classroom presentation for integrators
  • Regional presentations explaining the industry and viable career pathways and supplementary resources like videos, voiceovers, and salary survey results

These resources make it easy for the CEDIA channel to give polished career fair and in-class presentations and offer leave-behind assets for guidance counselors, career centers, and employment offices.

NextGen in Action

Over the past year, many CEDIA members have actively leveraged the NextGen Toolkit to forge meaningful partnerships with educational providers. By incorporating the Toolkit’s insights and materials, members have facilitated workshops, presentations, and mentorship programs, nurturing a pathway for enthusiastic young minds to explore and join the realm of smart home technology.

Here are two examples:

James Ratcliffe, Managing Director of Homeplay: “I recently visited two colleges to generate excitement about the smart home industry and encourage students to consider the career opportunities that are available within this market.

“Ahead of these visits, I decided that I needed something that could bring our industry to life and inspire the students. What we do is pretty cool, and we need to allow students to experience some of the tech that we work with on a daily basis to share that excitement. Working on behalf of CEDIA, I pushed forward with the idea of creating NextGen Tech Kits. Stored in easy-to-carry Pelican cases, these kits, which include products such as a Ring Doorbell, Sonos speaker, Alexa, Triathlon blind, and Lutron lighting, allow students to get the feel for how technologies can be integrated together.

“I’ve only done two presentations, but it’s been a learning curve, and with each one I do, I know it will become easier. The CEDIA NextGen: Smart Home Career Toolkit is there for members to use and adapt accordingly, depending on who they are presenting to. Be aware that we are talking to kids, so integrators who do take part in this program need to speak in their language and add their own personality into the presentation.”

Alan Matthews, Founder and CEO of Automated Spaces: “I was having discussions with local schools back in 2020 that got put on the backburner due to Covid-19. At the CEDIA Smart Home Awards in October 2022, [CEDIA global president and CEO] Daryl Friedman asked, if there were resources available to talk about the smart home sector, would everyone volunteer to talk at local schools? The next thing I know, the NextGen initiative was launched. When I looked at the collateral, I thought, ‘Oh, fantastic. Someone’s done the heavy lifting for me. This is great.’

“Because we were talking to a local school, I felt it was appropriate to get another local smart home installer involved. I reached out to Richard Westmoreland, CEO of Stuart Westmoreland Ltd., to present as a unified front. We did our presentation for 80 to 100 students. A few stayed at the end to ask questions. Richard and I were enthused by the experience. I gave a presentation at the Leeds Tech Summit in April 2023 and the students reacted similarly.

“Whoever is using the Toolkit should feel confident knowing they don’t have to stick to the script on the slide deck. You can add your own content. The goal is to talk about your experiences and day-to-day job, so it can be relaxed.”

CEDIA’s workforce development efforts remain an ongoing focus in 2024. To download CEDIA NextGen: Smart Home Career Toolkit resources for free, visit