As part of Vision 2024, The AED Foundation (AEDF) is working towards recognizing more high school programs throughout North America in the next four years. Reaching this goal will result in more students receiving the benefit of quality technical education at the high school level, which will help prepare them for their future careers.
As the Foundation recognizes more high schools, dealers may wonder how they fit into the process. When they get involved at the high school level, they are provided the opportunity not only to interact with students but to achieve a better understanding of students’ abilities and strengths – a valuable insight to have when looking toward future hires.
High school programs must meet AEDF’s standards to become recognized. This is not an easy feat – it can take years for a school to qualify fully. The process itself displays the school’s commitment to its students’ education and success. A high school that becomes recognized by the Foundation can show that it is providing its students with a top-tier education following AEDF’s rigorous credentials.
Jim Mack, an instructor at Berks Career and Technology Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania, states: “I would say one of the key benefits for my program with recognition is that it validates what we teach, so employers are familiar with AEDF standards … it offers my students the opportunity to earn a credential, which is a great benefit. The AED Foundation credential covers the whole spectrum” Students who are enrolled in these high school programs are being held to the industry-standard, making them excellent technician candidates upon graduation. An industry-recognized credential is a tangible sign of accomplishment to dealers, besides helping students to obtain rewarding careers.
A dealer involved with a recognized high school can gain an inside look at the process and to meet students firsthand. Lucas Ochmann, communications and marketing manager at Security Equipment Co., states, “As a participating dealership in the program, we have the opportunity to meet the students and participate in daily instruction, which reinforces the relationship between students and us. The face-to-face meetings are extremely beneficial when looking towards future hires.” The involvement proves to be helpful both to educate students and to establish connections. Dealers involved with an AEDF-recognized high school can build relationships with these students, and the students can gain firsthand experience working in an environment with dealer employees.
As these schools are training the next generation of technicians, it is essential that nearby dealers become engaged in the process. Dealer assistance to schools may be provided in an assortment of ways, from getting involved with equipment selection recommendations to serving on an advisory board. While the methods of involvement may vary from dealer to dealer, there is no question that their relationship with nearby recognized schools is essential.
The connection made through dealer relationships with AEDF-recognized schools is meaningful because it is possibly the beginning of a relationship with a passionate and dedicated future employee. Mack says, “I think it’s a partnership that needs to happen between the dealers and the program. The more the dealer is familiar with the program, the more connection or trust they have with our students. The more the students know, the more they are willing to pursue a connection with those dealers.”
Credentials are undoubtedly necessary, but the future employee’s drive that is witnessed through dealer involvement makes a student stand out. Ochmann continues, “We do not look for a senior graduating high school to be a master technician. Instead, we look for a young man or woman that has gained the soft skills of our industry and is eager to continue their education with us and grow into the master technician. The AED Foundation’s standards ensure that the young men and women, the future of our industry, graduate with a well-rounded education to enter our industry.”
To learn more about AEDF’s recognized high schools’ role in addressing the workforce shortage, visit: http://aedfoundation.org/vision-2024/.