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POV: Workforce Development

Aug 1, 2006 12:00 PM, By Melissa Taggart


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With the increasing importance of technology as a means to communicate, educate, and entertain, AV professionals have become vital contributors to a wide range of daily activities, causing a growing need for such professionals in our society. In fact, InfoComm International's Market Definition Strategy Study found that the biggest obstacle to further industry growth is the lack of qualified workers.

InfoComm has been involved in workforce development initiatives for many years. With a wide variety of education and certification options, successful scholarship programs, a job board, and relationships with secondary and post-secondary schools, many people have entered and/or advanced their careers in this fast-moving industry.

At the recent Workforce Innovations 2006 conference in Anaheim, Calif., the message was clear that employers must work at the local level to find potential employees. Infocomm is doing more to provide our members with a blueprint of local, state, and federal organizations to become involved with in order to engage local employment market initiatives.

To jump-start the industry's need for workforce development outreach, InfoComm has developed a strategy and materials to help the industry find the workers it needs. As a first step, InfoComm developed a new career brochure that members can use at local high schools, community colleges, and job fairs. These eye-catching materials, showcasing the breadth and opportunity of the industry, were recently sent to Workforce Investment Boards and state departments of labor around the country in order to educate them on our industry's great potential.

InfoComm has also been working closely with the U.S. Department of Labor to attract candidates to the industry. For the first time, InfoComm was listed as a resource for AV industry jobs in the federal government's Occupational Handbook, a guidebook used by career counselors, schools, and jobseekers. Industry information has been placed on major government Web sites visited by job seekers, including www.careeronestop.org, www.careervoyages.gov, and www.workforce3one.org.

Last year InfoComm conducted a program for national workforce investment boards, in order to educate them about the industry and the broad spectrum of AV occupations. In addition, the Department of Labor held a webinar for InfoComm members in order to give the AV industry direction for working with local workforce investment boards.

InfoComm has also conducted outreach with the Veterans Administration. Relationships and job ad tips have been formulated for the industry to use with Career Builder's “Operation Hero for Hire” and Monster.com's “military.com” — both job sites aimed at potential employees with military experience. Job descriptions, related SOC Codes, and recommended training is available on InfoComm's Business Kit CD, a free item sent to all member companies.

The topic of workforce development was extensively explored at InfoComm's most recent Executive Business Conference. Industry leaders shared strategies and information with colleagues and workforce development board members. Labor attorneys explained principles of resources law, while human resource experts discussed how to retain and retrain the employees you already have. An InfoComm “Workforce Development Kit” was unveiled, and it is now available to all members at no cost.

InfoComm's education and certification programs are a great way to get new hires up to speed on the industry for companies committed to getting people trained correctly from the start, and we are continuing to promote these programs to people currently outside the industry. For instance, the Certified Technology Specialist program is recognized by the National Certification Commission and is approved by the Veterans Administration for reimbursement for veterans under the GI Bill — just one more way to attract new qualified candidates for employment.

AV Week, a commemorative week to be held October 22-28, is designed to raise industry awareness, and features a bounty of opportunities for companies to conduct workforce development outreach. InfoComm has developed a tool kit for companies interested in hosting or participating in career fairs. In celebration of AV Week, InfoComm will be the technology pavilion sponsor at the Career Builder Job Fair, slated to be held on Friday, October 27, in Washington, D.C.

We hope these activities will inspire AV companies to be innovative in their recruitment efforts. The future of the industry depends on training the AV leaders of tomorrow. Please join us in helping to build a bigger and better industry.


Melissa Taggart serves as VP of Education and Workforce Development for InfoComm International.



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