A closer look at SIA's new Apprenticeship Program

Nov. 9, 2022
SIA director of learning and development Dr. Elli Voorhees outlines the early goals for the 2023 program, including potential curriculum, recruitment, job placement, integrator involvement, and more

This article originally appeared in the November 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

Back in September, the Security Industry Association (SIA) announced that 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 among security integrators.

According to a press release, 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 featuring on-the-job training, learning and preparation for careers in the industry.

Obviously, this is huge news for talent-starved integrators who are looking for innovative ways to supplement and develop their workforces. Security Business magazine caught up with Dr. Elli Voorhees, director of learning and development at SIA, to get the early details:

Regarding the pilot program for 2023: Will this be a limited or full program to start, and how will it work once it is finalized?

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.

What will the focus of the curriculum be, and is it a full program or still under development?

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.

Are integrators contributing to the curriculum?

A group of security integrators helped to identify the types of skills needed for entry-level system technicians and contributed to the development of the competency-based skills framework for the apprenticeship program. SIA is working collaboratively with its members (manufacturers and integrators) to identify related training curriculum to support apprentice learning and development.

Who is the ideal candidate(s) for this type of program?

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.

How will it work in connecting students with integrators/job opportunities?

SIA will work in partnership with participating companies on recruitment efforts to target local schools, employment organizations, special interest groups (i.e., nonprofits) and government agencies to attract program applicants. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is an important tenant of the program, and outreach efforts will focus on reaching non-traditional students as well as communities that historically have not had access to well-paying jobs.

How is it being marketed to people outside of the industry?

The program will be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor and listed publicly on RAPIDS, the national apprenticeship programs registry. Though collaborative efforts with employer partners, SIA will share program information with job placement agencies, nonprofit organizations and schools in targeted hiring localities.

What will integrators need to do to be able to participate? 

Following the initial pilot program, security integrators can elect to participate in the program 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.

Who will teach the classes? Are you looking for/hiring volunteers?

The apprenticeship program includes both classroom learning (technical instruction) and on-the-job training. SIA and its members will offer both free and fee-based learning programs to support competency development and skill attainment. Currently, we are not recruiting instructors or volunteers to support course delivery.

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine, a printed partner publication of SecurityInfoWatch.com. Access the current issue, archives and subscribe at www.securitybusinessmag.com.