Convergint Launches High School Apprenticeship Program to Drive Career Opportunities in Security Systems Integration

The security systems integration industry has historically suffered from a talent shortage and lack of diversity, as well as a lack of awareness around what it takes to have a successful career path in the industry. Convergint – a global leader in service-based systems integration – recognized an opportunity to address these challenges and is tackling them head-on with the recent launch of its Technical Apprenticeship Program.

Convergint’s apprenticeship program is designed for high school students, recent tech school graduates, and veterans who are interested in pursuing a profession in security systems integration. Through expert instruction, mentorship, and hands-on training, participants learn foundational skills and knowledge that sets the stage for the rest of their career. Areas of focus include hardware and software, cybersecurity, and security systems integration basics.

Security Today sat down with Yaruba Tate, Senior Vice President of Operations at Convergint, to discuss why the systems integrator launched the program, the goals they hope it achieves, and the impact they hope it will have on the next generation of security professionals.

What is Convergint’s Technical Apprenticeship Program, and why it was created?

There is so much career opportunity in the systems integration industry – and a lot of longevity and room for growth. At the same time, there’s a glaring skills gap – which we believe is at least partially due to a lack of awareness around what the job entails, the training that’s required, and how to find and secure an entry-level position. We also believe that the industry could dramatically benefit from more diversity – of both background and experience. We launched our Technical Apprenticeship Program to enable high school students to learn more about security systems integration first-hand and provide hands-on technical skills that are necessary to set them up for success.

The program allows us to work directly with high school administrators across the U.S. to provide students with a comprehensive course curriculum that’s focused on teaching students relevant, transferable skills – from safety and basic electronic principles to cable and infrastructure knowledge and technical installations. Throughout the program, students can track the progress they’re making and are provided with guidance to achieve a full certification in a specific field of their choice – opening the door for opportunities in the booming security sector. Our hope is that participants of this program will use the knowledge and experience they gain and leverage it for a long, fulfilling career.

This program kicked-off over the summer in the Compton Unified School District – can you tell us more about how you work with the school? How can other schools get involved?

We’re proud to work with Dominguez High School and to have kicked off this program at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year. In preparation for this apprenticeship program, participating teachers attended a two-week training of instruction and lab coursework led by local Convergint colleagues to become proficient in the relevant materials. By the end of the training, these teachers were equipped with the tools and foundational knowledge needed to actively instruct, review, and test students.

When schools join Convergint’s apprenticeship program, we’re available to the teachers every step of the way, providing the support they need to ensure that they are confident in their lessons and can create the best classroom experience possible. In 2024, we have plans to expand this program across the U.S., including to Atlanta and Chicago – and we look forward to bringing more awareness about the career options in the security systems integration industry.

Anyone looking to learn more or get their school involved can reach out to me directly at yaruba.tate@convergint.com or via our website https://www.convergint.com/tech-apprentice.

What does Inclusion & Diversity mean to you? Why is it important to bring diverse talent into the industry?

From my perspective, the inclusion part of Inclusion & Diversity means that everyone’s voice will be heard and appreciated – and the diversity side means that there are equal opportunities for people of different races, genders, and backgrounds. Taking a step back and looking at my own career – the past 20 years have provided me with nothing but support, opportunities, and the ability to gain experience, and I’ve always wanted to duplicate this experience for others and make sure that I could bring this to the organizations I work with.

I’m excited to take this even further and provide the next generation of talent with the same experience through Convergint’s Technical Apprenticeship Program. We all bring different backgrounds, skills, knowledge, and expertise to the table, which is why a diverse talent pool is so important in the security systems integration industry.

Our apprenticeship program aims to widen the horizon of possibilities for this young talent and highlights the opportunities available to them, and I’m proud to be leading Convergint’s apprenticeship program. Student have always been encouraged to follow the path that best suits them and their interests and we’re hoping that the Technical Apprenticeship Program brings them one more career option to consider.

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