In response to an online column in which InfoComm Executive Director Randal Lemke took issue with CEDIA’s proactive legislative stance regarding the EST (Electronic Systems Technician) program, CEDIA Executive Director Don Gilpin and President Ken Smith issued a joint statement in the form of a letter distributed to the CEDIA membership via its e-newsletter, countering certain points of criticism.
Lemke’s statement said his remarks were made “because CEDIA and NSCA (National Systems Contractors Association) continue to lobby states to mandate the Electronic Systems Technician certification.”
Lemke views EST as a bust, and believes CEDIA is trying to prop up a faltering program through legislation. “The industry has considered the EST program and has rejected it in the marketplace,” he wrote. “Attempts to unnecessarily regulate the professional audiovisual industry so that trade associations can avoid stranded investment in the EST program will not be blithely accepted by InfoComm under the rubric of industry unity. We hope CEDIA and NSCA will abandon their ill-conceived legislative strategy before they cause the industry to lose further credibility in state capitols.”
CEDIA Spokesperson Joshua Hall said Lemke’s remarks were a “gross misrepresentation of our intentions” and that a closer look at its model legislation would reveal that CEDIA has no intentions whatsoever, and never has, of “mandating” EST in various states. CEDIA maintains that it simply wants to officially distinguish ESTs as a “unique profession” from electricians, not to “shut out other programs” such as InfoComm’s Certified Technology Specialist. CEDIA said that by “protecting EST as an appropriate certification,” ESTs wouldn’t be required to go through high-voltage electrician apprenticeships, for example.
Hall said that CEDIA felt Lemke’s criticism was “so off-base that [it] needed to defend itself.”
The CEDIA statement from Gilpin and Smith points out that EST has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a “separate and distinct profession as part of the 21st Century Workforce Initiative,” and that this “federal designation has value to CEDIA’s legislative efforts as we continue to fight restrictive legislative proposals at the state level that do not recognize our profession and its unique training requirements.”