If you’re finding recruiting and retaining talent a top challenge, you’re not alone. But help is on the way, so read on.
For lovers of technology, the CEDIA channel is a fantastic place to work. This is one of the best technology fields where a person can build a career without a specialized degree. Many in the industry work their way up from level one technician to design engineer or business owner, learning through a combination of industry training, mentorship, and hands-on practice.
A career in the smart home industry is both exciting and rewarding; we get to play with the most powerful, cutting-edge consumer technologies available while bettering people’s lives with safer, healthier, more comfortable, and more accessible homes. Our industry is also incredibly resilient; just look at the way integrators thrived during the pandemic by helping people adjust to life in lockdown. With job security, growth opportunities, and satisfaction, the smart home is an incredible place to build a career.
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And yet, CEDIA members struggle to find industry newcomers to hire. I ask every member I meet what they most need from CEDIA, and the answer is almost always “workforce development.” We have so many opportunities to offer. We need to connect with talented, passionate people who can thrive in this industry.
Rest assured, CEDIA is listening. The association is investing in new resources to help our members build relationships with talent pipelines in their communities, reach job seekers, and recruit new hires. Our new CEDIA NextGen: Smart Home Career Toolkit is packed with tools to help CEDIA channel businesses reach new prospects through schools, job centers, government agencies, and more.
The Career Toolkit comprises a set of downloadable assets you can customize and use to drive interest in the CE industry in your community. These pieces fall into three main categories:
- Easy-to-use outreach resources for talent pipelines: assets you can bring to a college, trade school, government agency, etc., including a dynamic new video that promotes the industry, presentation materials for events like career fairs, and leave-behind assets like posters and jobseeker brochures.
- Outreach messaging examples to support recruiting, such as sample job descriptions, email templates, and phone scripts.
- Career pathway insights that can be used as internal benchmarks or outreach materials like average salary ranges by title, skills needed at each career stage, and a guide to important industry credentials.
These resources build on a foundation of existing workforce development efforts. Our local member champions are foremost among them. These members conduct “boots on the ground” outreach. They work to build a local network of CE businesses and understand the size, scope, and talent needs of the industry in their community. Then, they represent CEDIA and the industry at local events like job fairs.
They educate fresh talent about opportunities in the industry, as well as CEDIA training and accredited certifications. This Toolkit will support this work — and I hope that it will inspire many new members to join our local member champions in telling their communities about the industry they love.
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CEDIA is also engaged in direct outreach. For many years, we have worked to cultivate education partnerships that allow us to offer hands-on training, help people get certified, connect with employers, and advance careers. Programs like the Smart Home Technician Apprenticeship Program in the U.K. or the Electrical and Electronic Systems Technology (EEST) programs throughout the U.S. connect jobseekers and employers directly. They are incredibly powerful for those individuals, and CEDIA will continue to drive efforts like this forward. It is grassroots outreach, however, that will truly allow our workforce development efforts to scale and multiply.
CEDIA wants to make it easy for our members to find, hire, and nurture new talent; the next steps are up to you. All of CEDIA’s most impactful initiatives are fueled by its members. Government advocacy, standards development, training, and certification — none of them are possible without the expert volunteers who live and work in this industry every day. Workforce development is no different. CEDIA is counting on you to partner with us in elevating the CE industry within the local communities where employers and talent live, work, and learn.
I encourage all CEDIA members to explore the NextGen: Smart Home Career Toolkit on the CEDIA website. I look forward to hearing your feedback on these resources and continuing to expand CEDIA’s workforce development initiatives.