Kudos to InfoComm, Shame on Its Members

ICIF grant program seems to be ideal opportunity for companies to add young people, but few have signed up so far. What’s going on?

I’ve done many interviews, had many conversations and heard many executives at many integration companies talk about the importance of hiring young people and helping to ensure the success of their companies in the future.

But, when InfoComm International members were given a chance to literally put their money where their mouths are by contributing $2,000 to a new grant program that gives up to 20 college students a chance to work in the business before graduation, only five registered for the opportunity.

InfoComm International boasts more than 5,000 members around the world. That means for every 1,000 InfoComm members, less than one thought the idea of having the chance to bring aboard a young person—a goal most companies list among their top priorities—was a worthwhile $2,000 investment.

Truth be told, there are some additional expenses involved in paying the student for its part-time work, covering their expenses on InfoComm education and certification and sending them to InfoComm 2015 in Orlando. But, for company leaders who talk repeatedly about the importance of bringing aboard the next generation, shouldn’t that additional layout of cash be considered well worth the investment?

It’s nice of ICIF board members to take the hit and put the blame on themselves for why only five InfoComm members have taken the opportunity to sign up for the first-year grant program, which replaces the scholarship program of previous years. They talked about maybe the marketing of the grant program being faulty and saying some who heard about the program might not have understood it.

So, I guess it’s a good thing ICIF board members decided to keep the registration open as long as they can—through the end of this month—to entice those who hadn’t heard about it in the first go-round another chance to get involved on the ground floor of a program that offers them exactly what they all say they want and need so desperately.

Some board members are optimistic that, with a little more time for members to get involved, they’ll be able to hit the 20-student threshold, and certainly that will be a step in the right direction and something that will benefit not only more students, but for the companies who bring them aboard as well.

So, in the end, my rant could be moot, which is OK with me. I’m just wondering what I’m missing about this grant program and its benefits and why it’s taking so many InfoComm members so long to get involved.

Learn more about the grant program here.