It’s hard to find young, qualified talent within the AV industry. We’ve heard it all before – it comes up in round-table discussions, conferences and surveys. And according to Brad Grimes, InfoComm’s Director of Communications, it could potentially be the industry’s most prized possession.
There are several industry association initiatives in the works at the moment for recruiting and retaining talent. But what if we, as integrators, could contribute to the awareness, education and training of AV talent?
Our industry associations provide us with the tools. CTS, CTS-I – any InfoComm course can be licensed and taught onsite internally. NSCA (National Systems Contractors Association) and ESPA (Electronic Systems Professional Alliance) both offer tools, and full curriculums for certifications. PMI (Project Management Institute) offers multiple professional development tracks with certifications. Sales and customer service trainers are in every major city. The resources are out there.
So then why, haven’t we educated ourselves? These are the questions that keep AVI Systems CEO, Jeff Stoebner, up at night.
“We’ve tried everything – hiring from within the industry, hiring folks outside of the industry and the results are sub par at best,” explains Stoebner. As a result, in the Fall of 2015, AVI announced the launch of its employee Leadership and Development program called Elevation.
Elevation is a manifestation of AVI’s strategic plan and includes full-time staff, an 18,000-square-foot facility based in Minneapolis (the AVI Experience Center) and the development of curriculum for all employees. Capturing the expertise inside of AVI and providing a means for existing staff to learn from their peers is a force multiplier. AVI is planning a curriculum consisting of courses for all employees – not just technical positions.
Initially the destination program will focus internally on AVI employees, but will be open in Fall of 2016 to customers, manufacturers and students. In the meantime, several regional AVI LIVE events will host CTS-Prep Courses in Detroit, Cincinnati, Chicago and Minneapolis. If you’re interested in attending, please register here.
Brian van der Hagen came on board in September of 2015 to lead he Elevation initiative as Training and Development Manager. Brian comes with 24 years of experience, not only on the integration side of the business, but as a manufacturer and manufacturer’s rep. “I’m really proud to be a part of such a great initiative,” explains van der Hagen. “AVI has proven its commitment to providing the most extensive learning opportunities for not only our employees, but the rest of the industry as well.”
“We want to have the best trained workforce in the industry, and it’s just not possible if we don’t educate ourselves,” says Stoebner. “Personal and professional development are essential to the growth and success of AVI – with the goal to make it easy for employees, customers and manufacturers to reach their fullest potential.”