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Make Recruiting Easier With The CEDIA Next Gen Smart Home Career Kit

Integrators need to start in their communities to build the future of their industry

L to R: Daryl Friedman, Amanda Wildman, Anthony Ortiz, TJ Thoss, Peter Trauth.


Daryl Friedman, Global President and CEO of CEDIA moderated a panel discussion about the the age-old problem of recruiting talent in the integration industry on Thursday morning at CEDIA Expo 2023. Panelists included Amanda Wildman, Secretary of the CEDIA Board of Directors, Anthony Ortiz a recent integrator graduate, TJ Thoss, instructor of Electronic Systems Integration and Automation Program, Orange Technical College, and Peter Trauth, Founder and CEO of Nirvana Home Entertainment.

With topics ranging from raising awareness to reaching out to local public and trade schools, the panelists expressed the need for integrators to start in their communities to build the future of their industry.

A focal point of the discussion was the CEDIA Next Gen Smart Home Toolkit, a free package that includes ready-to-use resources employers can present to colleges, trade schools, and more to generate excitement and raise awareness of the opportunities in the integration industry. The kit also includes tools to expedite hiring and recruitment, such as customizable job description examples to help employers post open positions faster on job sites.

“I think it’s important for all of us when we’re pitching these jobs to the community to show that it is exciting,” said Friedman. “You get to work with cutting-edge technology, get paid well, and put smiles on people’s faces in their homes. There’s something very gratifying about that that I think will resonate with young folks.”

“Being able to stimulate your brain and work in these massive projects is very appealing,” Ortiz agreed.

“Young people don’t necessarily look at careers the same way that we looked at careers,” added Wildman. “They look more at the breadth of knowledge and diversity. When they come to work with us one day they might be doing audio. One day they might do motorized shades. They are much more knowledgeable because of what our industry does as opposed to a year working as an electrician.”

“When I started in the industry I had no clue what I was getting into, and the first couple of really amazing homes that I went into I was blown away,” related Trauth. “So to be able to show students what it is actually like gets them thinking, “I could really see myself doing this, it looks exciting and fun.”

The panelists also addressed common reservations regarding the amount of time necessary to reach out. Their advice? Start small, and grow.

“I think that the big misnomer is if I go out and I do this I’m going to have to develop a big program, I’m going to have this huge time commitment, it’s going to be another job for me and I can’t possibly wear one more hat as an innovator or business owner,” said Wildman. “Just plant that little seed. Do just a little bit and you will find the Domino’s to start falling down.”

“When it comes to it, you’re not competing against each other,” Thoss explained. “You all have open jobs and there’s enough people out there that we can get to fill them. But at the schools, we need your help. We need your support so that we can build it up and we can start training them for you.”

See also: Keynote: CEDIA Attendees Need To Get Onboard With AI