Community and Technical Colleges Offer Wealth of Job Talent, Training Resources

At last month’s education conference in Boston, we served as host for representatives from several community and technical colleges. We invited them to the conference to learn more about our industry and to explore ways in which all of us might work together to train apartment industry employees and to develop a pipeline of skilled talent for the apartment industry. They came from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some already had a relationship with the apartment industry, others were skeptical about why we had reached out to them to begin with. By the end of the conference, all of them were excited about our industry and the opportunities it offers their students.

Our industry employs more than 1 million people, and with many places seeing average turnover rates of 30 percent … well, you do the math. We need to develop pipelines of new talent to make sure we recruit qualified individuals who can help our industry continue to grow and prosper. Community and technical colleges can help.

Consider this, according to the American Association of Community Colleges, community colleges enrolled more than 13 million students in 2009. These students come from all walks of life. Some go on to attend four-year universities while others use their local community or technical college as a stepping-stone to a full-time career.

Community and technical colleges are ideal for not only recruiting entry-level leasing consultants but also maintenance technicians. Many of these schools offer building trade courses like electrical, plumbing, HVAC and carpentry that are ideal training for service team members. In fact, it is our goal to have all of the colleges that attended the NAA Education Conference offering NAAEI’s ANSI-accredited Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) courses within the next year. Community colleges have a workforce training mission and are looking for nationally accredited, industry-sponsored certificate programs that can provide people with skills training for in-demand industries. CAMT meets their needs.

For those of you with job openings, I encourage you to contact your local community or technical college. Ask to speak to someone in the career services office. If they haven’t heard about the job opportunities available in our industry, offer to share with them information about our industry. You also might ask what tips they have for letting their students know about industry job opportunities.

If you’re an NAA affiliated association, explore partnering with your local college on industry training programs, such as CAMT or NALP. Also, see if the college holds career fairs that your member companies can attend.

If you are interested in reaching out to your technical or community college, contact Kimberly McCrossen in our office at kimberlymccrossen@naahq.org. NAAEI can provide guidance and information that you can use in your college outreach.