Widgets Magazine

Free Community College Means A Boost to AV

This week President Obama announced a plan to make community college free to students in the United States. In doing so he said he wanted to make an associate degree as common as a high school diploma. I’m not going to get into the politics of this discussion. There are several countries throughout the globe who have free education through college. There are also those who put the responsibility for secondary education on the individual. There can be arguments for both sides. What I want to do is take a look at what Mr. Obama’s plan could mean for the next generation of AV workers.
My background is in the junior/community college system. It was my first degree. Currently I am pursuing my masters in media communications (just finish this darn thesis), but my first sheepskin was an associate of applied science in radio broadcasting. The two-year school is also where I spent the first few years as a full-time AV professional. So, the community college system is rather familiar.
The community college is perfect for the AV professional, as well as other trades. It allows students the opportunity to get their hands dirty in a new field relatively quick to see if they like it and if they have an aptitude for it. How many of you spent three or four years pursuing a degree in a field you realized did not suit you? The two year system is geared toward getting you working in your degree as soon as possible.
There are already a few schools out there that specialize in the Associates in AV. Madison Media is one. My friend Josh Stackhouse graduated from there and is making his way in the AV world. For those colleges who do not have a program yet they can lean on trade organizations. InfoComm, CEDIA, and NSCA have classes already developed for training audio visual professionals. How great would it be for your local community college to partner with them and make a degree?
Some have made the argument that this may mean a glut of educated, but not experience, talent. This is true in most any field. However, wouldn’t you rather get a green tech who at least knows what an XLR cable is? Most of the two-year programs have aspects that require hands-on work. Whether this is auto mechanics, electricians, or nursing; they all have an aspect that requires them to demonstrate their skill level. This is a win-win for our community and we should take this time to get in touch with our local community colleges to see what we can do at the local level so they are ready to train the next generation of AV pros.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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