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Associations Focus: Honing Skills

Jun 1, 2006 12:00 PM

Seminars, training programs, and leadership conferences offer resources for professional growth.

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This fall, all levels of electronic systems professionals will have the opportunity to hone their skills through enrollment in the Electronic Systems Technician (EST) Training Program. Whether used as an inhouse training program or in pursuit of EST certification or apprenticeship, NSCA's educational programs save time, money, and effort for electronic systems companies that offer educational opportunities for their staff.

“The EST Training Series can be a variety of things to a variety of companies,” explains Norah Hammond, NSCA director of credentialing programs. “It's like having a training department internally. This is a product that's appropriate for training brand-new staff from the ground up, or for more experienced personnel to achieve advanced certification. Companies can use all four years of the EST training series to take them from the very basic to education about all low-voltage systems.”

The time to start planning for EST enrollment is now. Deadlines are in August, and the nine-month courses begin on Sept. 18. Each of the four levels of training offer a blend of online learning taught by EST Master Instructor Larry Garter and hands-on education provided by a facilitator within each participating company.


The federally mandated EST Apprenticeship Program continues to gain traction nationwide with a new state-level approval in Washington state. This latest achievement in NSCA's continuing effort to obtain acceptance for EST in SAC (State Apprenticeship Council) states will enable companies participating in apprenticeship training to pursue projects with state and federal apprenticeship requirements in Washington.

“This approval opens up opportunities for state-funded projects that Washington companies may have found harder to approach previously,” explains Dave Johnson, NSCA director of industry/government affairs. “Because NSCA manages the apprenticeship programs, the burdens of administration are eliminated for the business owner, making apprenticeship an excellent tool.”

NSCA is currently negotiating approvals in seven SAC states that require the additional step of local acceptance of federal apprenticeship programs like EST. There are 27 SAC states, and NSCA will pursue approval wherever there is interest from members. Those interested in initiating EST apprenticeship programs should contact the association. “The more the EST Apprenticeship Program is established across the country, the more our industry becomes accepted,” Johnson says.


McGraw-Hill Construction and NSCA have partnered to launch a new online store providing more than 8,000 analytic offerings, including forecasts, trend analysis, historical reviews, and market snapshots. McGraw-Hill Construction forecasts cover metro area and state-level trends, as well as five-year national outlooks for various market sectors. The publisher's subcontractor potentials and historical reviews of markets help to inform business planning, and its SmartMarket Reports provide insights into specific growth segments such as healthcare construction and green building.

NSCA members will enjoy other privileges as part of the McGraw-Hill relationship, including a 25 percent discount on store purchases and reduced rates on versions of McGraw-Hill Construction's Network and subscriptions to the publisher's major industry magazines, Engineering News-Record and Architectural Record.


Two new integrator members have been elected to the NSCA Education Foundation Board: Claire Ford, CEO of Ford Audio-Video, and George Serban, president of Serban Sound Systems. Both bring a significant amount of industry experience to their new roles. Ford has directed the administrative and financial aspects of Ford AV since its inception in 1973, and Serban has served the commercial electronic systems industry for more than 40 years.

The NSCA Education Foundation's newest President's Club supporter is LG Electronics. LG's support will assist in development of new education curricula and help fund participation in education programs. “LG supports the dealers and the NSCA Education Foundation's efforts to advance and support the channel through education,” says Ron Snaidauf, vice president of LG Electronics.


Registration for NSCA's Fall Business Conference is open now at The two-and-a-half-day conference, scheduled for Oct. 26-28, 2006, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., will feature executive and management seminar tracks providing practical tactics for growth and the perspective of keynote speaker Pat Richie, founder and president of the Sports Leadership Group.

For more information about NSCA, visit or call (800) 446-6722.

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