By Chris Heaton, Vice President of Advocacy & Public Affairs
Two recently proposed bills in Congress could boost the skilled labor pool nationwide for the electronic security industry and other high-skill, high-demand professions. ESA supports the workforce development investments suggested in these proposals, and plans to show support for their adoption during District Week in hopes that these bills will pass, thus providing increased funding for the technical education and certification of new talent in the industry.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS
Over the past few decades, students have been shepherded more and more by counselors and parents into colleges to attain academic degrees, while the skilled trades have seen a decline in younger workers choosing to enter these fields out of high school.
This trend could be changing soon, however, if funding is redirected as proposed in the “JOBS Act of 2019” (S. 839) and the more recently proposed “Break the Higher Education Monopoly Act of 2019” (S. 2123).
These pieces of legislation would allow Pell Grants to be awarded for certification and credentialing programs in trades and professions that do not require a traditional four-year degree.
For students interested in the electronic security and life safety industry, this could be their ticket to a promising career without the possible financial setbacks associated with a four-year degree.
The mean annual wage for security and fire alarm installers is $48,540, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is comparable to the mean annual wage for all occupations, including those that require a four-year degree; however, to enter a job as an alarm technician, one typically must obtain only a license from their state, and can complete their training and certification for the first time while they work.
These technicians have a considerable early-career financial advantage over a full-time student enrolled in a four-year degree program, where it is nearly impossible to also work enough hours to support oneself financially – notwithstanding the astronomical debt many college students take on while earning their degree, which they must begin paying off while earning entry-level wages.
When students consider the opportunity cost of attending a four-year college, compared to completing their certification for an entry-level position in a high-skill, high-demand trade such as those in the electronic security industry, they will see that taking a much shorter and more affordable pathway – like the training offered by the ESA National Training School – while earning a living will produce more financial security at a fraction the cost of a traditional college education.
For this reason, and because the Association believes in the purpose of our industry, ESA is committed to developing the workforce and educating those who are starting or continuing electronic security and life safety careers.
Join us for District Week to voice your support for these proposed resolutions which could bolster the workforce and strengthen the industry we love. Click HERE to learn how you can get involved.