Integrator training programs are gaining traction in ways that can help builders find qualified labor, limit long-term costs and commit to a smart home standard.
These programs can cover everything that the average technician would encounter on a jobsite—low-voltage training, structured wiring, client relations and more.
TecHome Builder spoke with leaders at two different integrator training institutes to better understand how these programs benefit integrators and builders alike. New England-based Maverick Institute and Dallas-based CEDIA training programs are aimed squarely at our changing market. Maverick is a first-of-its-kind program for the region, and CEDIA has been working, for nearly three decades, to educate integrators at its flagship trade show and external events.
“What I’ve heard from the industry is that there’s a lack of training facilities, like this, around the country,” says Joe Boston, director of the Maverick Institute. “Before we even finished construction of the school, we were getting calls from all around the country to hire our graduates.”
CEDIA’s vice president of emerging technologies, Dave Pedigo, sees training programs as an easy way for builders to find qualified labor that will last. “One of the universal truths that we see right now is that, in our industry, they are facing a skilled labor shortage,” says Pedigo.
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CEDIA’s education program varies from intro classes to comprehensive lessons and incorporates a mix of learning styles. “We do as much hands-on training as we can, but to make training accessible and timely, there also has to be a good mixture of hands-on and online,” says Pedigo.
Maverick’s program is less a la carte than CEDIA’s, and during its 1,000 hours of training, integrators are walked through each major step of a project. “We have 21 modules [in the program] and each module has a specific task associated with it,” says Boston.
The first Maverick module focuses on professionalism and the last focuses on how to finalize a relationship. Builders should pay attention to the types of content being covered, because an in-house integrator will need to know a wide-range of information.
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Instead of relying on outside integration firms to consult and fully-integrate a project, builders could save money by hiring a qualified integrator to serve as the company’s in-house tech expert.
According to Boston, Maverick trains students on three industry curriculums—SPEC, NCCER and Infocomm . After the training hours, students can immediately test for these certifications and immediately provide value to builders.
The average age of a low-voltage tech integrator is 40-years-old. Builders need to embrace qualified help now, because many of these technicians will be out of the workforce over the next two decades, which will lead to another skilled labor shortage.
Training programs, such as CEDIA, can also help you train key members of your team. According to Pedigo, some builders have begun offering training programs to salespeople, accountants and key members of your business.
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