Chances are pretty good that your technicians and installers didn’t go to charm school. I’m sure many of you can relate to this statement from observing behaviors and communications skills from many of the entry-level installer and technicians. I’ve seen and written plenty about their shortcomings but I’ve also come to develop a new appreciation for these young people that just might change the way you think.
I’ve learned a lot about the millennial generation since writing my book. “Under the Social Influence” and I’ve learned a lot from the feedback I’ve received from the readers. One thing that really stuck with me is that we may be overlooking a segment of the millennial population ready and willing to do the basic installation work and learn the rest. Their desire to work can bring some new energy to your business.
Our industry has an opportunity to employ tech school graduates and turn their new found pride and accomplishments into a job in your integration company – and one they will appreciate. They have real world skills, know basic programming, can do the applied science and math, but most importantly, really want to work.
I’ve also come to learn from these young men and women that their K-12 experience wasn’t the best. In many cases it contributed to a low level of pride and self-esteem with many of them who ended up struggling then attending a technical institute or trade school. What I found is that these students have underperformed in high school and to a large degree generally felt (and most often unintentionally) categorized as not expected to become successful. That being said, I’m pleased to report that our partner tech schools (view a listing at www.espa.org) are becoming a place to rebuild the hope of being successful, and a place that these students can go to do something they love and learn about something they are passionate about.
I’ve learned that high school students are surrounded by future lawyers, doctors, business executives and students who can attend any college they want. But then there is the group of students who have gone through school without any idea that a profession in the world of technology (awaits them. And I would argue if they were placed on a computer science or STEM-based academic pathway early on, they could have a GPA on par with the best students in their high school.
I’ve also learned that parents don’t want their children to grow up to be technicians. Many parents force their students into a curriculum and academic channel that just isn’t right for them. We all know someone who has done this and it’s because we all want the best for our children. Ironically, we have record numbers of students with “undeclared” majors who are entering four year colleges.
My point is that we have a real opportunity here. We have an opportunity to create a working environment where technicians, when properly groomed, can become our best company spokespeople. Some might need a PR makeover, but you might be surprised how many are just shy people, waiting to emerge. When you bring a new employee in who might not have had the best academic experience, yet has a real passion for what they do in the industry, they have great potential to become an ambassador for not only your business but for the industry as a whole.
This year alone we will have approximately 400 students coming out of tech schools in the U.S. as certified electronic systems technicians (ESTs), and only a fraction of those students will have a four year degree. The majority of these students will be eager to work, have a new sense of pride and could be very successful if given the right opportunity. As the market continues to improve and we add more industry jobs, I hope you consider these young, eager students as candidates within your company – CW