• Type: Whitepaper
  • Date: December 2015

By Cindy Davis, Special to AVIXA

No matter what job function you perform, it is safe to say that technology has had an impact on the way you do your job today versus how you accomplished that same task just a few years ago. But today, technology changes are haINppening at an exponentially faster pace than three years ago.

Reality Bites

The reality is: If you don't keep up, you'll get left behind. The other hard reality is that since Henry Ford perfected the assembly line (and before), more efficient innovations and technologies render some jobs obsolete.

It can be exhausting and overwhelming to know how to keep up or even know what you should be trying to keep up with, while still doing the day job. Even more daunting, is when you see that your job function is about to be absorbed by "innovation," and not knowing how your experience and expertise translates within your chosen industry to another viable job. Or, did you even see it coming?

Just because an IATSE member was a stagehand for 20 years, it did not mean that they had a great deal of AV experience," says Ben Adams, International Representative for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees(IATSE, IA).

Lest you think that this only applies to the "older folks." If you just graduated from MIT with ten Ph.D.'s and landed the job of your dreams, what you learned yesterday will be eclipsed by new innovations in technology tomorrow. Get ready for the ride of your life, for the rest of your life.

Reality Bits and Bytes

The world of "1s" and "0s" has taken the AV world by storm over the past several years with the significantly increased quality of digital imaging, audio, lighting, automation and communications software and devices, with almost daily upgrades. Then add on the ability to transmit those signals faster and with close to zero latency, and through the air. Don't forget about connecting and controlling everything via the myriad of mobile devices and new operating systems that arrived before you've punched-out for the day. And by the way, make sure everything is safe and secure. This is the new AV industry.

"The biggest change is the introduction of the computer and the introduction of wireless in the workplace. If our people do not know how to address equipment, we are not going to be viable," says Adams.

Real Needs

What is needed, is a group(s) that is watching out for how new technology trends affects jobs today and tomorrow, keeping individuals up-to-date and provide the education and training that is needed to keep each person viable within the industry. And wouldn't it be great if it were free? If you are an IATSE member, you're in luck.

Real Solutions

In 2012, IATSE and the Training Trust Fund (TTF) partnered with AVIXA to develop and provide forward-thinking education and training to keep IATSE members up-to-date on new and emerging technologies. In addition, IATSE members in good standing can become an AVIXA member, receiving many benefits including free and discounted training and seminars, free event and trade show admittance, networking opportunities, tools and resources for AV professionals. AVIXA is the trade association representing professional audiovisual industry worldwide.

"We are always looking to the future to see how we can we best meet the needs of IATSE workers and help support their training," says Liz Campos, Executive Director of IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industries Training Trust Fund.

Patricia White, IATSE, International Trustee, Department Director of Education and Training, and President of New York City Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 764 says, "The idea came about from demand by local union leaders for training in what they had been seeing was an important area of work, and one that is kind of ever-changing too. Technology affects everything we do, but never more than in audiovisual, which is such a heavy tech field."

"The AVIXA relationship started out with us offering the CTS® Prep classes. Because our education department is very active in doing surveys and asking our membership what they really want and need, and because we listened, we found out that a lot of people wanted essential AV skills," said Ben Adams.

"The Training Trust Fund supports the IATSE members by full reimbursement once they have passed the training [or] certification [classes]," says Campos. "The programs that are being offered through the AVIXA partnership really are the cornerstone of the TTF and what we are trying to do and what we are here for."

Currently the IA and AVIXA offer the following training:  CTS Prep class designed to help ease nerves and boost confidence before taking the Certified Technology Specialist™ (CTS®) exam; CTS Certification, the certification program that is recognized worldwide as the leading AV specialist credential and is accredited by ANSI. There are more classes in the works. Get more information here.

Not Your Daddy's IA

Adams notes, "A lot of our people are second and third generation. This is an industry where you see your dad or mom working in this business and it's pretty cool business, and say, 'I want to get into this business.' It happens a lot. I say in these classes, "Listen, this is not your daddy’s business anymore. Things are changing rapidly and on a daily basis and we must keep up." Adams says that IA members, "understand and for the most part they are actively embracing training."

The crossover of AV and stage within the IA is substantial. Adams says, "There are people, who do exclusively stage, but you go to a Local, like Local 16 in San Francisco they do a lot of AV as well — but they are stage guys.

The courses are designed to forward the careers and viability of all IA members. White says, "The 'fundamentals course' is set up so that they can come in without any prior AV knowledge. All of our people who infare IA workers already have skills in some areas: stagehands, projectionists — most of them have some parallel skills." Over 1,100 IA members have signed up for the partnership. "We get incredibly positive responses when we do the training from local union leaders as well as those who have taken the course. Having as many workers as the need for audiovisual workers grow, we want to be able to make sure we have workers with strengths and competencies in those areas.".

Kent Jorgensen, Chairman of the IATSE Safety Committee says, "There are some locals that have seen the benefit of being involved with AVIXA for decades. It's just we've now gotten a bigger International involvement." Jorgensen has been member of Local 80 Grips in Burbank, Calif. since 1990. Jorgensen and Alan Rowe, Chairman, IATSE Craft Advancement Program (ICAP) from West Coast Studio Local 728, have been providing rigging and electrical safety demos at AVIXA for many years.

Production Credits

AVIXA’s CTS certification program is accredited through the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) ISO/IEC 17024 certification of personnel as administered in the United States by American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This accreditation achievement verifies compliance with requirements outlined in the internationally accepted standards for assessing personnel certification programs (ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024) and for the operation of accreditation bodies (ISO/IEC 17011).

The IATSE is a group of 119,000 workers in the United States and Canada belonging to International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union established in 1893. The men and women of the IATSE work in all forms of live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting, and concerts as well as the equipment and construction shops that support all these areas of the entertainment industry.