Bogotá has partnered with a U.S.-based trade association to bring audiovisual education to some 400 students in capital. InfoComm International, a group headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, that represents firms in the global audio-visual industry, has signed a deal with the city’s education minister that will allow a select group of high school sophomores and juniors to take online classes and, eventually, an exam to become a certified technician in the field.
This aligns with Bogotá’s push to provide more specialized high-tech training in an attempt to expand the labor poor. While adding 400 to the workforce won’t change the field overnight, it will impact this niche market if the students take to the training and do pursue a career in the AV world.
Bogotá’s education district came across the association’s student-engagement programs in Mexico and realized bringing something similar to the capital could be a great opportunity for students, said Laura Diaz, an advisor to Bogotá’s secretary of education.
“Students enrolled in our AV program will be better prepared to pursue their passion in this field after they graduate high school,” said Diaz. “This is our first partnership of this kind with an international organization, and we have very high expectations for its impact on our students.”
InfoComm was happy to extend the program further southward. In 2013, the group partnered with the Instituto Politécnico Nacional to develop a program that invited students to attend TecnoMultimedia InfoComm Mexico for a tour of the trade show floor. As will occur in Bogotá, some are then selected enroll in online courses and take the AV Technologist Certificate exam.
“For me, InfoComm’s program for students is more than online courses or an internship — it’s a process of discovery and growth,” said Sofia Arreola, application engineer for Almacenes Audiovisuales of Colonia Juarez, Mexico.
Arreola speaks from experience. She was one of the students selected for the program in Mexico and believes it was a big reason that she was able to secure a job at Almacenes.
“When I finished my training, the company Grupo Niza offered me and other students internships. After my internship, and with the support of my mentor, Oscar Lopez, I applied for an opportunity to work in sales and design for Almacenes Audiovisuales. I’ve been working there now for almost a year as an application engineer.”
Officials in Bogotá and InfoComm executives are both hoping that Colombian kids can follow the same path as Sofia. “This program will provide students with the foundation for their professional development in the AV industry,” said Scott Wills, senior director of international member services at InfoComm International. “Students will enrich their resume and have the opportunity to obtain a certificate recognized by members of the pro-AV industry.”