In September 2022, the Security Industry Association (SIA) announced that it was developing an apprenticeship program. The program would help to address the security industry’s workforce challenges, diversify the talent pipeline and foster career-development opportunities among security integrators.
The initiative is set to launch in June 2023 as a one-year pilot program, for which SIA will develop the curriculum and connect job seekers with security systems integrators for paid apprenticeships. The apprenticeships would feature on-the-job training, learning and preparation for careers in the industry.
Obviously, this is huge news for talent-starved security pros who seek innovative ways to supplement and develop their workforces. Security Business magazine caught up with Elli Voorhees, director of learning and development at SIA, to get a closer look.
Q: Will this be a limited or full program to start, and how will it work after it’s finalized?
Elli Voorhees: The pilot program will include participation from several large security integrator companies and their end-user partners. Together, they will implement the program and align their apprentice onboarding and training to the competency framework developed by SIA.
Q: What will the focus of the curriculum be, and is it a full program or still under development?
Voorhees: SIA’s apprenticeship program is designed for security systems technicians and covers elements of physical security device installation, configuration, networking and cybersecurity, as well as general employability skills in customer service, business acumen, time management and communication.
Q: Are integrators contributing to the curriculum?
Voorhees: A group of security integrators helped to identify the types of skills necessary for entry-level system technicians and contributed to the development of the competency-based skills framework for the apprenticeship program. SIA is working with its members to identify related training curriculum to support apprentice learning and development.
Q: Who is the ideal candidate for this type of program?
Voorhees: The target audience for this program includes security system technicians, installers and field service technicians. The program is designed to expedite the learning and on-the-job training journey for new, entry-level techs at integrator companies.
Q: How will it work in connecting students with job opportunities?
Voorhees: SIA will work with participating companies on recruitment efforts to target local schools, employment organizations, special interest groups, such as nonprofits, and government agencies to attract program applicants. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion is an important tenant of the program, and outreach efforts will focus on reaching nontraditional students as well as communities that historically haven’t had access to well-paying jobs.
Q: How is the program being marketed to people outside of the industry?
Voorhees: The program will be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor and listed publicly on RAPIDS, the national apprenticeship programs registry. SIA will share program information with job placement agencies, nonprofit organizations and schools in targeted hiring localities.
Q: What do security pros have to do to participate?
Voorhees: After the initial pilot program, they can elect to participate by adopting the competency-based framework and fulfilling certain program reporting requirements. Companies will be responsible for assisting in recruitment, hiring apprentices and supplying resources to support apprentice onboarding, learning and on-the-job training.
Q: Who will teach the classes?
Voorhees: The apprenticeship program includes technical instruction in the classroom and on-the-job training. SIA and its members will offer free and fee-based learning programs to support competency development and skill attainment. Currently, we aren’t recruiting instructors or volunteers to support course delivery.
Paul Rothman is editor-in-chief of Security Business magazine.