We'll be highlighting training and education updates from ESA's Chartered Chapters throughout 2012 and beyond.
The training and education program of ESA of Virginia had seen better days. "While it wasn't completely dead, it was dying," says president Lynn Comer. "We hadn't really been doing anything."
Members of the association were unhappy, and the state's regulatory board was unhappy too.
"Everybody was doing just [enough to] meet requirements," she says. They'd get their certifications, meet their requirements, and nothing more.
When Comer became president of ESA of Virginia in October, she declared that education would be one of her initiatives. "After our annual meeting in October, we put out a survey. [Better] training had a big response," she says.
So they hired a new Training Director, Bill Hemminger, who has been working with ESA and NTS to integrate training in a way that complies with the state. "His charge is to start working with NTS to get better training for folks here in Virginia," says Comer.
One of the issues they're working through is that members often have to take classes that aren't always appropriate in order to meet a requirement deadline. They tend to look to see what's available before the deadline, and take it.
"Here in Virginia, you get time limits on when you can do your educational piece," she says. "It's becoming almost silly. We recognize it, and we're going to do something about it."
They're also tackling the licensing issues, including putting the classes into a format so that Virginia will accept them. "If it's got the NTS label, we want to streamline it [for certification]," she says.
Association members are interested in topics ranging from fire equipment training to professional development to home automation, says Comer. "People are really keying in on IP. Whole-house automation is another one that's really big," she says. "Obviously there's a hunger out there - somebody's thirsty."
Business know-how is a big driver, she says, including ways to add additional recurring monthly revenue (RMR). "RMR is king. That's what you need to keep your business healthy for the duration," she says.
Comer is excited about working with NTS, and bringing back a once flourishing training program. "It's senseless for a chapter to recreate all of it. The work has been done," she says. "NTS to me is a no-brainer."
"We're at the very beginning stages," Comer says. "We're bringing it back, for sure. It's coming."