June 27, 2018 by Joseph Valerio
Integrate Baltimore AV Makers Night
Integrate Baltimore AV Makers Night

If you were to ask most AV professionals how they entered the industry, they would likely share a similar tale. Perhaps they are (or were) a musician, ran the sound board at their house of worship, or even enjoyed managing lighting for their school theater productions. The list goes on. An underlying theme in stories I hear is that direct pathways into AV are few and far between.  Audiovisual professionals aren’t typically aware of the industry until they’re in it. For some it takes venturing far and wide to InfoComm or Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), for example, to see the breadth of career possibilities out there.

Now is the time to make a change.

I’ve already written about how building relationships with higher education can benefit workforce development. Another powerful tool we can use is leveraging partnerships with other organizations who already prepare young people to join the workforce. So why not help direct them to the AV workforce? Take these few examples as some proof in the model.

For a second year, the AVIXA Foundation continues its work with nonprofit EnventU, helping students in the Washington D.C. area learn skills for careers in hospitality and live events. The organization strives to help our next generation “invent [itself] through events,” by teaching seven core pillars which collectively make up components of successful integrated experiences. EnventU does this by leveraging its own relationships with local schools and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. AVIXA is proud to help bring awareness to AV careers by offering curriculum assistance and hands-on experiences at our major industry tradeshows.

Joseph Valerio speaking at Integrate Baltimore AV Makers Night
Integrate Baltimore AV Makers Night

When I attended a recent AV Makers Night hosted by Integrate Baltimore and the AVIXA Women’s Council, I saw the same impact these types of groups can have on growing our workforce. Students involved in programs at Year Up, NPower, and Sheffield’s TechWorks, attended en mass showing their eagerness to find internships or jobs in the industry. It was a beautifully visible reminder of how much potential exists given proper awareness of our industry. The few AV companies invested in the night most certainly benefited greatly from direct access to the talent pool.

I therefore encourage all who read this to reach into your own communities and partner with any organization that could help build more career pipelines into your company. It’s a win-win scenario for all of us. We have tools to help tell the story of AV, so get out there and start recruiting!

About Joseph Valerio

Joseph Valerio is the Director of Workforce Development at AVIXA and the Program Director of the AVIXA Foundation.