The Security Industry Association (SIA) announced it has obtained approval from the U.S. Department of Labor for its national program standards establishing a new apprenticeship initiative for security technicians and installers.
The 12-month program — created to help address the security industry’s workforce challenges, diversify the talent pipeline and foster career development opportunities within the industry — is designed to develop basic networking, IT and cybersecurity competence among systems installers through workplace learning and one-to-one mentoring.
The new Security Systems Technician (SST) apprenticeship program falls under the Information Security Analysts occupation group (O*NET Code 15-1212.00) aligning with other registered apprenticeship programs that address security for computer networks and information, such as cybersecurity support technician and cyber defense analyst. Unlike other related programs, the SST apprenticeship program uniquely addresses both physical device installation for low-voltage security equipment and cybersecurity controls for safeguarding electronic infrastructure and technology, according to the announcement.
“SIA is proud to be presenting its new apprenticeship initiative, which provides a formal process for entry-level employees — without having any technical experience — to gain the skills necessary for physical security device installations and basic IT/networking knowledge required for today’s connected systems,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson. “The program also advances SIA’s broader workforce development strategy, which aims to establish competence in cybersecurity and recruit diverse talent into the industry.”
SIA lists three overarching goals for the new SST program:
- Raise the level of applied knowledge and skill in cybersecurity and information technology for systems technicians who are responsible for the proper installation, configuration, networking and troubleshooting of low-voltage security devices and equipment;
- Attract new talent into the security industry and provide a pathway for long-term career development in technical roles;
- Foster diversity through targeted recruitment efforts and partnerships with special interest groups supporting veterans, women and other underrepresented minority groups entering the workforce.
“Our goal is to leverage learning content developed by SIA member companies to the greatest extent possible to help apprentices become familiar with low-voltage electronic security devices and equipment that is commonly used in the field,” said Dr. Elli Reges, director of learning and development at SIA. “Unlike other SIA education programs that are vendor-neutral and product-agnostic, this program is intended to educate apprentices on product technologies and system design features that will prepare them for hands-on security systems installation work.”
The apprenticeship initiative aims to promote growth in diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry and offer career pathways for populations that are underserved and underrepresented in security or may be unfamiliar with career opportunities in the industry. Recruitment for apprenticeship participants will be geared toward students and recent graduates with trade/vocational schools and community colleges, security industry support staff interested in technology and individuals in low-income and underserved areas who may not have access to traditional education.
Each participating apprentice will complete the SST Work Process Schedule consisting of a minimum of 144 hours of related-technical instruction and 2,000 hours of guided on-the-job training. SIA is working to design a seamless learning pathway for apprentices to complete the program’s training requirements through its learning management system.
The core competencies covered by the SST apprenticeship program include the following:
- Basic hardware and IT security principles
- Network security and troubleshooting
- Threats, attacks and vulnerabilities
- Governance, risk and compliance
- Device installation
- System integration and testing
- Employability skills
Each core competency area includes specified knowledge, skills and abilities that an apprentice must proficiently demonstrate to successfully complete the program. SIA is currently seeking training content that aligns with the SST Work Process Schedule to support training and development for apprentices.
Training content must teach generally applicable concepts for systems integration, such as fundamentals of electronic door hardware or network video.
The pilot program is scheduled to launch in August with the support of several end-user companies and their integration partners. Following the pilot program launch, SIA anticipates opening the apprenticeship program up for participation to SIA member companies seeking talent in the target job roles.
For those who are interested in participating in the program or would like to contribute training content to support knowledge and skill development, contact SIA’s learning and development team at firstname.lastname@example.org.