The NSCA Education Foundation is a relatively quiet – but very effective – resource for our industry. The effectiveness of this charitable organization can be attributed to the fact that the board members are all highly engaged industry thought leaders who clearly understand the needs of the industry.
Here’s what the NSCA Education Foundation has been working on to positively impact our industry behind the scenes …
It has become clear that we have a lack of awareness – and an image problem – with students who are deciding on their future college or career plans. So the Foundation decided to do something about integrators’ overwhelming frustration in finding young talent to join their companies.
Ignite will arm integration firms and consultants with marketing and promotional materials to use at job fairs and share with students and young professionals considering the commercial technology industry. Career awareness and outreach to high school students, parents, administrators, and guidance counselors will generate interest and provide a pathway to the many colleges and career centers that can educate students about our industry.
The PASS K-12 initiative started after a site visit to an inner-city Chicago high school. It would have been easy to just shake our heads and walk away from what we saw, but instead we decided to do something.
We called together others who we knew would support the idea of providing expertise on the situation. Fast forward to today: We now have a comprehensive set of guidelines to follow when developing and implementing a technology roadmap for K-12 schools, based upon input from leading security and life safety systems experts.
The NSCA Education Foundation provides financial support for this important organization, which established industry-recognized training and certification for entry-level electronic systems technicians (ESTs). It provides students enrolled in EST programs the opportunity to pursue C-EST certification while still in school. This helps address the shortage of qualified installers and entry-level techs in our industry.
Testing and processing fees are covered by the Foundation. It is estimated that 300+ certified electronic systems technicians enter our industry every year, thanks to the NSCA Education Foundation.
By now, likely over 1,000 people have benefited from the Foundation’s scholarship program. Each year, the Foundation board meets to allocate funding. This year, we launched the Hester scholarship program, which will be directed toward those who have served in the military.
New Education Programs
Dozens of courses and new training programs benefiting the industry have been developed though funding from Foundation donations. The latest program to receive funding: the Pivot to Profit event this fall. Like with so many other NSCA tools and services, these programs receive initial seed money from the NSCA Education Foundation.
We typically provide the industry with two or three reports/studies per year. These range from the annual Financial Analysis of the Industry and biannual Electronic Systems Outlook reports to our Compensation & Benefits Report. The Foundation sees the educational benefits of integrators using this valuable research and information to make positive impacts on business.
Sometimes we help others because it’s the right thing to do. The Foundation has provided support for people who have fallen on hard times, lost family members, or simply need to pay for education to get established in their careers.
I’m very proud of the efforts and causes supported by the NSCA Education Foundation. If you want to become part of this organization – do something to give back and to help others – we welcome you. –Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director