5 Ways to Find, Hire, and Keep Your Next Rock Star (A Course Preview)

CEDIA Expo is most important annual trade show dedicated to residential electronic systems. If you are interested in home technologies you should be getting registered and attend Expo 2017 in San Diego in September.  This blog entry discusses hiring and retaining great people, and serves as an introduction to a panel discussion session at Expo that will no doubt be sold out……



Bookmark and Share

Why Pursue a Career in Electronic Systems?

The electronic systems industry continues to grow and continues to have a huge demand for qualified people.

This artice recently appeared in Technical Education magazine and you can download a PDF to read and share!

Bookmark and Share

ESPA Success Stories – “Where are They Now?”

There are now thousands of ESPA certified ESTs in the workforce. We have set out to find some of them and learn more about how their career path is going.

The first in this series is Jacob Wheatley, who was part of the first ESPA pilot program at a high school career center. Today, he is a lead technician with a great skill set and a promising career.  To read Jacob’s story, click here!

Bookmark and Share

More Ideas About Workforce Development


Jeff Gardner


As we all know, workforce development is a priority across the electronic systems industry, not just in the residential sector. Every association serving the industry has some kind of initiative in place to raise awareness among young people, promote training in the academic channel, or connect people with jobs.  I recently took part in one of these initiatives, representing ESPA, the Electronic Systems Professional Alliance.

CABA – Continental Automated Buildings Association serves the industry with councils devoted to both intelligent buildings (large scale automation, control, and energy management) and the connected home. Their focus is on research and enhanced communication between manufacturers, innovators, architects, and integration firms, and they serve all of North America.  They organize large-scale research projects as well as topical white papers. Over the past several months I have served on a working group developing a white paper on training and education for the industry at large. We described the industry’s growth and the need for qualified people, the current training and education options available, and the gaps in this education which need to be filled.  The first draft of the white paper was completed in time to present to the CABA board of directors just before their annual forum, which took place last week in silicon valley.  We also presented a panel discussion outlining the contents of the white paper and prompting an enthusiastic conversation about how the academic channel can better prepare people for careers in the industry, from entry-level EST to system design and programming.

The conclusions were very similar to those that have been drawn in other conversations over the past few years:

– Awareness: The industry needs to do a much better job of making young people aware of the great careers we have to offer. NSCA – National Systems Contractors Association  is showing their commitment to this with their Ignite program, with over 60 “ambassadors” across the country armed with resources to share with high schoolers who would otherwise know nothing about the industry.

– Outreach to Schools: Providing content and certifications to enable schools to do the training and education needed to build a pipeline of qualified people.  ESPA and CEDIA have these resources and schools are adopting them, but not nearly fast enough.

– Focus on IT Students: We are now finding that students who have already gained computer and networking skills are ideal candidates to come into the industry and apply those skills in electronic systems. We are working with CompTIA’s Creating IT Futures program to introduce these students to the option of working in our sector. I just wrote a blog entry for their website …..and we created a flyer which can be given to IT students at both the high school and post-secondary level to get them interested.

– Connecting with Government Agencies: State and local agencies often have funding available to train career changers, but are unaware of our need for entry-level technicians and IT-savvy networking people. CTA www.ce.org  is holding the New American Jobs Summit conference today in Washington, DC. The event is targeted toward policymakers and employers to discuss the future of jobs in the US. ESPA has a pilot program wrapping up next week which provides adult education classes for career changers, and prepares them for the ESPA certification exam and immediate employment as entry-level technicians who already have a solid foundation of knowledge and skills and can be productive from day one.

– Call to Action for Integrators: The very best way to generate awareness among students, government agencies, and schools is through the actual employers; the integrators who live and work in their communities and have the opportunity to speak directly about our industry, its need for new hires, and the resources available to prepare people for these jobs. When real employers speak, schools and agencies listen.

For more info on any of these initiatives, resources, or strategies, please feel free to contact me. As executive director of ESPA my primary mission is the training, certification, and placement of technicians. But I can also provide wide ranging information on the resources offered by other associations and private training entities. We all have the same goal; building a robust pipeline of qualified people to work in our industry. Let’s work together toward that goal!

Bookmark and Share

7 Myths About Technology Careers

This great blog entry from our friends at Creating IT Futures highlights some of the key misconceptions about working in technology.  Don’t let any of them discourage you! The electronic systems industry is exciting, dynamic, constantly changing and very “hands on”!  And computer/networking skills are becoming more important every day!


Bookmark and Share

ESPA Certification Adopted by Career College of Northern Nevada

CCNN in Reno, Nevada offers a variety of programs aimed at preparing students for careers in technology. Their Industrial Electronics Technology program digs deep into the skills a technician needs to troubleshoot and calibrate electronic equipment in the field. This comprehensive training will make graduates extremely valuable in the electronic systems industry, and the ESPA partnership will ensure that there is a strong connection between the school and employers desperately seeking qualified technicians.

To learn more about the program or about how to hire graduates, visit www.ccnn.edu.


Bookmark and Share

Atlanta Tech becomes ESPA Authorized Training Partner

Atlanta Technical College traces its origins back to Smith-Hughes Vocational School, which opened just after World War II.  After six decades and multiple locations, it now serves a student body of nearly 5,000, and offers over forty academic programs. The adoption of the ESPA curriculum and certification within their electronics program will help bring qualified entry-level technicians directly into the workforce with the skills they need to begin a promising career in the electronic systems industry.  We look forward to working closely with Mr. Harry Brockington and his team.

For more info on Atlanta Tech visit http://www.atlantatech.edu/


Bookmark and Share

Let’s Get IT Students Excited About Careers in Electronic Systems

What do we want? Qualified people!
When do we need them? Now!

That chant has been heard non-stop for a few years now, and ESPA is out there doing what we can to help. More certifications than ever, more schools than ever.
Four new training partners in the first quarter of 2017. And a few of our newer partners really stand out, because they are either including a solid foundation in networking in their training ,or adding  electronic systems integration content to their existing IT program. The perfect combination of skills. The perfect new hire!

We are now building in this idea by rolling out a concerted effort to get this message to IT students, at both the high school and post-secondary level:
“Put your IT skills to work in the electronic systems industry, where you will be involved exciting projects and new technologies every single day”.

We just provided an article for CompTIA’s Creating IT Futures website, explaining why these folks with their A+, Net+, and Security+ certifications should seriously look at our industry as a promising career path. You can read this piece here.
We are also creating a flyer which is aimed at IT students, distilling that same message to grab their attention and encourage them to get more information.

Here’s what you can do.  When you look around your community for a school that might be a good fit for ESPA EST training and certification, look at not only electronics programs, but at IT programs. There are plenty of jobs waiting for these computer savvy students, but some people simply don’t want to spend their career sitting at a computer analyzing data or fixing problems remotely. Some people want to actually design and build things they can see and hear. That’s where our industry comes in. And with their IT skills they will have a leg up and a much faster track to advancement.

Bottom line: Start looking for your next hire among people with schooling and certifications in IT.  And even better, help us get some electronic systems programs into those schools!


Here you can find valuable information about IT and its ties to the Electronic Systems Industry.

Bookmark and Share

IT Futures in Electronic Systems

If you are a student who is gaining skills in computer tech and networking, you should seriously consider a career in electronic systems. Virtually every component that is integrated into residential or commercial systems is now dependent on the network. And computer programming skills translate pretty seamlessly toward configuring and programming control systems.  ESPA is partnering with the CompTIA Education Foundation to raise awareness of these great career opportunities. Read more on the Creating IT Futures website.




Here you can find valuable information about IT and its ties to the Electronic Systems Industry.

Bookmark and Share