CE Pro December 2022 - 4

From the Editor
by Arlen Schweiger
Pitching a Career Path in the
Custom Integration Industry
" There are
very talented,
very motivated
people out there.
They don't know
about us. "
-Paul Starkey,
PrepTECH
IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY to plant the seeds
of a career in the custom integration industry
- especially when most people don't
even know it's an option.
That's why Amanda Wildman, co-owner of
TruMedia in Ada, Mich., who is a CEDIA board
member who is involved in its Workforce Development
Working Group, takes time out of
her schedule to visit local schools - and not
just high schools, but middle and elementary
schools - and talk it up. It's just one tactic
to spread the word to the next generation.
Wildman and PrepTECH co-founder Paul
Starkey joined me on the Smart Stage at
CEDIA Expo 2022 for a session, " What to Do
About the Skilled Labor Shortage? "
" What I really enjoy is solving some big
problems and almost since day 1 I've been in
this industry we've had a problem of really
finding high-quality technicians to continuously
bring into the business, " says Starkey, who
will reach 30 years in the industry next year.
Starkey, a longtime business coach and
consultant whose latest endeavor is vetting
and connecting tech candidates with
integrators, thinks the custom channel's labor
shortage is a " micro " problem more so than
a " macro " problem as it is in many industry
sectors globally.
" I think it's marketing what we have - we
Arlen Schweiger is
executive editor of
CE Pro. He can be
reached at
arlen.schweiger@
emeraldx.com and
@ArlenSchweiger
have an incredible product to sell, " Starkey
told the session attendees. " The career that a
home tech can have in this business is almost
second to none, and I don't think we do a
great job of selling that. A lot of people are
critical of the younger generation, say they're
lazy; it's not true. There are very talented,
very motivated people out there. They don't
know about us. "
Launched last year, PrepTECH graduated
its first techs in August from its pilot program
in Dallas that began in April and " we're
hiring them hand over fist right now, " Starkey
reports. The company had 20 techs placed
4 | CE Pro December 2022
in the Dallas market. He says PrepTECH
still uses " resume farms " like Indeed to seek
candidates, but, he says, " We weren't selling
a job, we weren't posting a job - we were
posting a career. "
So PrepTECH applicants are committed
to going through several weeks of training,
testing and more, he notes. The company
attracted roughly 400 applicants in the Dallas
area, who were then vetted by PrepTECH
for the program. Along with the graduates,
PrepTECH has solicited the industry to assist
in providing scholarships to techs. " It's been
amazing, " Starkey says.
He adds that the program has male and female
participants, and points out that out of
its first 10 graduates two were valedictorians
of their high school class.
Also a member of CEDIA's Certifications
Commission, Wildman underscores that
the younger generation of new techs want
to feel like their companies are investing in
them. " It's not just about getting a paycheck
every week, it's about how are you
helping me to grow as an individual, how are
you helping to teach me? "
She says it's a compelling message that
will make an impact when discussing custom
integration as a possible career.
" When you go to schools, when you go to
parents and say, 'Look, I actually have a learning
process so that when your student or
child comes out they're actually going to earn
certifications that are globally recognized.'
That's extremely important, and we have the
ability to say that, " she enthuses.
As Wildman adds, that means their education
can take them on a career journey
where a CEDIA certification is as valid in one
state as in another, or even from one country
to another. So don't forget, you're offering
newcomers a true world of possibilities in an
exciting, fun, growing industry. Who wouldn't
want to hear more about that?!
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CE Pro December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CE Pro December 2022

CE Pro December 2022 - Presentation Page
CE Pro December 2022 - Cover1
CE Pro December 2022 - Cover2
CE Pro December 2022 - 1
CE Pro December 2022 - 2
CE Pro December 2022 - 3
CE Pro December 2022 - 4
CE Pro December 2022 - 5
CE Pro December 2022 - 6
CE Pro December 2022 - 7
CE Pro December 2022 - 8
CE Pro December 2022 - 9
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CE Pro December 2022 - 18
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CE Pro December 2022 - Cover3
CE Pro December 2022 - Cover4
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