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Training the Future Smart Building Professionals

“The BAS industry is on the brink of… Imploding!” - Scott Cochrane

In a recent Automated Buildings article, Scott Cochrane pointed out a huge deficit in our industry: a lack of talent and technology expertise. The BAS industry requires people and companies to keep up with innovations in technology. He’s not wrong. Go to any tradeshow or speak to any BAS integrator and you will hear the same: there’s an increasing demand for IT skilled professionals, however not many new professionals are coming through the pipeline to replace those retiring. 

There is hope! Here are some creative solutions - from grassroots level programs at the High School and college level to new industry training programs - that are sparking interest and training the next generation of Smart Building professionals. 

Stacks+Joules: high school level training

Stacks+Joules is a nonprofit organization that takes an innovative approach to learning by creating a project-based course in smart building technology. Their specialized curriculum engages young people through handson learning with lighting, building automation, analytics, and overall project management. This is accomplished by providing training that enables students to be placed in paid internships with local building automation employers.

“Stacks+Joules opens the door to broader horizons, for inherently talented people to connect to the complex high-tech jobs that need them urgently, for tomorrow’s problem solving.” - Founding Educator, J. Michael Conway


Wake Tech Applied Engineering - college level training

Wake Tech has a Technician Training for Advanced Building Technologies program that helps prepare college level students for a career in the building industry. This program features a state of the art training lab complete with a functional VAV air handler, chiller, and boiler plant. Students also have access to wire program and simulate various controllers and software applications. The 6 week course culminates in students “taking FIN for a Spin” to learn firsthand the skills of integration, programming, and creating user experiences.


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J2 Innovations Technician Training

We’ve expanded our training options over the years to include virtual, hybrid, and self-paced courses. J2 offers courses for technicians, system integrators, and developers which are available to a larger audience through the use of a digital platform. In addition to in person classes, students can choose from a number of flexible schedules and attend courses from anywhere in the world. These courses could be adapted for college and trade school curriculums. The FINstitute platform opens the door to make smart building expertise more accessible to a wider range of people.


Industry standards training 

The Project Haystack community is an open source initiative to streamline working with smart buildings data through the use of semantic tagging and standardized data models. They now offer a new course, Haystack Essentials. The online course is designed for anyone new to Project Haystack who wants to better understand how to apply the Haystack Tags to real building environments. Students learn the basics of Haystack Tags and Data Models and how to navigate the standard using interactive exercises to practice applying these tags in example scenarios. The Project Haystack community has been finding ways to get more people involved in their community and in turn in the buildings industry as a whole. 

Our industry is ripe seasoned with veterans who have helped us evolve and grow. But these veterans are retiring with no one to take their place. It’s time to usher in a new, diverse pool of professionals to lead the next generation of smart building technology offerings. These four examples are a great starting point for attracting future professionals. 

B. Scott Muench

Scott joined J2 Innovations as a partner in 2011, and is now Vice President of Customer Experience. He has a wide range of responsibilities including evangelism, business development, training, and operational excellence. Scott is well known as an industry expert in smarthomes and smart buildings. He is a past president of ASHRAE, and is currently a board member for Project Haystack. Scott attended Clarkson University for Mechanical Engineering and graduated with a BS/Business in Organizational Innovation.

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Topics from this blog: Project Haystack Systems Integrator Smart Buildings FIN Framework Training Industry

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