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New Alliance Between CEA, CEDIA, and NSCA Looks to Unify the Industry

The Electronic Systems Professional Alliance has an agenda built on standardizing the CI workforce through education and certification programs.

Indianapolis, IN–The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA), and National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) have joined forces to form the Electronic Systems Professional Alliance (ESPA), which will serve as the foundation of a career-ready workforce for the electronic systems contracting industry.

Electronic systems technicians install a broad range of products including structured wiring, distributed audio and video, theater rooms, lighting, security and life safety systems, automation controls and more in both residential and commercial environments. They are represented by numerous independent associations nationwide, many of which have competing education and certification programs.

“There is strength in numbers,” said Chuck Wilson, chairman of ESPA and executive director of NSCA. “By coming together and offering a single entry-level education and certification platform for any and all industry organizations, ESPA will be universally recognized as the gateway to a career in electronic systems contracting.”

The demand for electronic systems in homes and businesses has steadily increased causing a need for larger numbers of qualified technicians. ESPA will help meet this need by filling the electronic systems industry workforce pipeline with job-ready new professionals who have mastered the basics and carry credible certification.

The leaders of CEA, CEDIA and NSCA recognize that having numerous competing entry-level education and certification products in the marketplace is confusing. ESPA seeks to calm the “noise” by providing one set of fundamental best practices that are common among all industry organizations. After achieving ESPA certification-the foundation of every electronic systems contracting career-technicians will then have the option to pursue advanced careers through existing specialized programs offered by the independent trade groups. Because the new alliance is open to any and all electronics organizations, ESPA has potential to become the common denominator for millions of workers seeking higher-wage technical careers.

ESPA also sharpens the public policy and outreach of its licensees. Efforts to increase awareness and understanding of electronic systems contracting among consumers, builders and developers, state legislators and other critical growth audiences will be greatly enhanced by the unified voice of ESPA. In fact, The U.S. Department of Labor has already identified the electronic systems technician as a unique occupation as part of the 21st Century Workforce Initiative. With the added “strength in numbers” offered by ESPA, electronics systems contractors may soon be considered the official “fourth trade” along with electricians, plumbers and HVAC professionals.

ESPA anticipates rolling out its education/certification programs in the third or fourth quarter of 2007.