SIA Unveils Apprenticeship Program for Security Integrators

SIA’s apprenticeship program will focus on physical security systems installation, device networking and configuration, cybersecurity and project management.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Security Industry Association (SIA) announces it is developing a new apprenticeship program to help address the security industry’s workforce challenges, diversify the talent pipeline and foster career development opportunities within the industry.

The initiative will 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 featuring on-the-job training, learning and preparation for careers in the industry.

Finding and attracting qualified talent continues to be a major challenges for the security industry. In SIA’s 2022 Security Megatrends report, workforce development ranked No. 5 on the list of the top trends shaping the industry, as companies struggled to find installers and labor shortages struck the supply chain. SIA says this apprenticeship program was created in response to the growing demand for a highly skilled technical workforce.

“SIA is thrilled to announce its apprenticeship initiative, with a goal of building a program model that can be scaled and used by all integrators in the security industry,” says SIA CEO Don Erickson. “This new program, which complements existing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and workforce development SIA initiatives, will help address the industry’s workforce challenges, equip job seekers with the essential training and skills needed to be hired with systems integrator companies and grow the next-generation security workforce.”

SIA says its program will focus on physical security systems installation, device networking and configuration, cybersecurity and project management and target security system installation technicians.

The curriculum is said to follow a competency-based apprenticeship model and require a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job learning and 100+ hours of related technical instruction. Participants will be paid on a progressive scale based on the current industry average hourly rate, with increase opportunities throughout the yearlong apprenticeship period.

The pilot program will receive funding from the American Institutes for Research (AIR), as well as a group of major technology companies, including Meta, who leverage third-party security systems integrators. SIA will administer the program and provide related technical training and coursework. The initial employer partners participating in the pilot program will be security systems integrators working with the mega-tech partners.

SIA notes the apprenticeship initiative aims to promote growth in DE&I in the industry and offer career pathways for populations that are underserved and underrepresented in security or may be unfamiliar with career opportunities in the industry.

“The timing is appropriate for the industry to support an effort to recruit and train new technicians into the security industry — as our business has continued to grow and evolve, we are seeing significant gaps in mature technicians retiring out and new technicians entering our space. Programs like the SIA apprenticeship program are being developed to support closing this gap and providing a space that focuses on recruitment, certified training and industry support,” said Meta Head of Global Technical Partnership Engagement Bobby Louissaint.

He continues, “With DE&I being a core value in this program, SIA is looking to offer training to young people right out of high school or junior college levels. It’s an effort that will significantly impact our industry and provide much-needed jobs to capable young people who may not be pursuing a college education while also providing our industry a training mechanism that supports new fresh talent and DE&I. This program will take a family approach to deliver, so all of us as industry leaders need to play our part. I look forward to working with SIA on launching this program, and I am excited to see the support and talent it fosters into the future.”

Recruitment for apprenticeship participants will be geared toward students and recent graduates with trade/vocational schools and community colleges, security industry support staff interested in technology and individuals in low-income and underserved areas who may not have access to traditional education.

The announcement of SIA’s apprenticeship program comes during the federal government’s Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint, a national campaign to encourage employers, industry associations, labor unions and training providers to explore registered apprenticeship as a recruitment, training and retention strategy and connect with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Office of Apprenticeship to develop new apprenticeship programs or quickly join existing programs. SIA’s program will be registered with the DOL Office of Apprenticeship, and more information will be provided during National Apprenticeship Week, taking place Nov. 14-20, 2022.

Along with launching this apprenticeship program, SIA joins the CompTIA Apprenticeships for Tech network, a collaborative effort between AIR and CompTIA and a DOL standards-based registered apprenticeship program. DOL selected AIR and CompTIA to serve as a national industry intermediary for expansion of apprenticeship in tech occupations.

“AIR and strategic partner CompTIA are partnering to expand apprenticeships for tech job roles through innovative acceleration strategies. We are fueled by a deep passion to help people find a pathway to a meaningful career in tech and to help businesses develop apprenticeship programs that will become a key source of talent to meet their workforce needs,“ says AIR Vice President of Workforce Development Beth Brinly. “We are delighted to help SIA bring the power of apprenticeship to their members.”

Following the pilot program launch in June 2023, SIA anticipates opening the apprenticeship program up for participation to SIA member companies seeking talent in the target job roles.

SIA is also seeking skills-based and product-specific training content from its manufacturer members to offer as part of the apprenticeship program. Companies with general or product-specific training material to share that would benefit an apprentice should contact Dr. Elli Voorhees, SIA’s director of learning and development, at [email protected].

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