Changing the Dialogue: Igniting Interest in Youth for AV Tech Careers

4/25/2017 11:50:00 AM
By Gina Sansivero
You’ve heard it before, but like moving a big machine, our industry takes time to adjust and seems to need some coaxing from time to time. The harsh reality is that we are very poor educators, marketers, and ambassadors. Wait, let me clarify that before you jump to the comments section to defend why we have some of the best cheerleaders of any industry (you rabble-rousers know who you are).

I was given the privilege of presenting, as an NSCA Ignite! Ambassador, to two high school business classes—a total of about 40 students. These classes include mostly junior and senior students. They are the students that could alleviate industry-wide hiring challenges. Yes, some of them mentioned they want to be a chef, fashion designer, or hospitality manager. So I spent a bit of time explaining how technology shapes each of those seemingly non-related fields because, overall, they are a group we know we should be targeting. 

Not surprisingly, when asked what audiovisual and commercial technology meant to them, the three top answers were phones, TVs, and FaceTime. 

This set the stage very well and gave me an opportunity to blow their minds with what AV is, what it touches, and how seamlessly it is integrated in their lives—so much that they don’t even realize that there is an entire industry that makes it all happen. We are truly the wizards behind the curtain. 

AV is in stealth mode. It is time to break out because we need people. We need young, bright, passionate people to help keep the industry moving forward and diversify and strengthen our technologies, companies, and reputations. We are a close-knit industry. We love to talk to ourselves. We love to educate each other, and we love to peacock for our colleagues.

Imagine what would happen if we learned how to flip that dialogue to the “outside world.” The most transformative moments during my discussion with the students were sparked by pictures. I showed them an image of an interactive exhibit at a museum, a baseball stadium, a Super Bowl halftime show, distance learning classrooms, dynamic art, broadcast studios, control rooms, etc. They soaked it in. In fact, we spent the most time discussing how the (very high-end) distance learning classrooms work. Why? That’s the world they know; the world they are familiar with.  

If you are able to harness the moment when your worlds collide, expanding the discussion is natural. Students asked, “You mean it’s like FaceTime for school?” 
 
“Sure,” I said, “let’s start there.”

If you’d like more information about the feedback I collected from these students, or if you have any questions about my experience and how to get involved with being an AV ambassador (tip: don’t use the word AV) please contact me at gsansivero@fsrinc.com

Gina Sansivero is director of business development, education at FSR.

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