Growing the Security Talent Pipeline

SIA efforts for security workforce development

Think quickly! When was the last time you involved me in your hiring decision-making process? Probably not ever. It’s more likely that my hometown New York Mets will win the World Series this year than that I will be asked to join your interviews with prospective employees.

A more realistic scenario is for the Security Industry Association (SIA) to work with you to implement SIA’s comprehensive plan, designed to help its members hire qualified talent.

Here are the key points of SIA’s plan to grow the security talent pipeline.

1. Student Membership Within SIA

SIA has swung open its doors to enthusiastically welcome students as members. We have created an “academic membership” category for students educate them about the security industry and network with potential employers. Our plan is to target trade, technical, community college and engineering program students as potential members. Please encourage your recruiting teams to pitch SIA student membership as they visit campus career fairs this fall. Academic membership information is available in the membership section of our website. Contact SIA Director of Membership Kevin Murphy at for more info.

2. Defining Career Pathways

SIA and ASIS International have joined together to identify competencies and skills influencing career pathways in the security profession. The end goal of the project is to develop a career map detailing logical transitions in the profession (both practitioner and supplier). Special thanks to SIA members Phil Aronson (ASG), Martin Huddart (ASSA ABLOY), Scott Dunn (Axis Communications) and Geoff Kohl (SIA’s senior marketing director) for the input they have provided into this important initiative.

3. Expanding the SIA Community College Degree Program

You are probably aware that we partnered with Mercer County Community College to develop a degree program featuring project management, sales, product technology and security integration classroom and lab instruction. We are planning to license this curriculum to community colleges nationwide. Contact me if you work with community colleges in your region to help to bring this program to their attention. SIA’s Education Committee Chair James Marcella (Axis Communications), John Hunepohl (Crystal Ball Creations) and Doug Haines (Haines Security Solutions), among others, have been incredible champions for this degree program. Learn more about the MCCC degree program.

4. Offering SIA Scholarships for Young Security Professionals

We are only a few weeks away from a deadline (Sept. 29) for millennials to submit their scholarship applications under the SIA RISE program. Funds may be used for a variety of courses, including curriculum related to information technology (IT) or cybersecurity. The applicants represent future leaders within our member companies, and this is a key way for them to further their professional development. Encourage your millennial colleagues to apply  on our RISE Scholarship page.

5. Fighting for STEM Curriculum Investments

Robust federal government investment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum in K-12 schools and high schools is essential to preparing students for future careers in technical and engineering jobs. SIA is fighting for federal funding of key STEM programs, such as the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program (Increasing the Participation of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers) and its Advanced Technological Education Program, which focuses on providing additional education for technicians. SIA Government Relations is also actively supporting efforts to reauthorize the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, a landmark law that promotes career and technical education.

6. Engagement with HR Professionals and Industry Stakeholders

To successfully execute this plan requires the involvement of business leaders, students and associations representing the technical education community, and human resources professionals who represent the front lines of hiring. For example, as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, SIA intends to leverage the Chamber’s expertise and resources to promote our industry through its Foundation Education and Workforce Center and its Hiring our Heroes Program, aimed at helping our nation’s veterans transition to new careers.

If you are interested in learning more about our progress to address the security skills gap or to share ideas, please contact me at