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BICSI transformation begins

Major changes to include launch of a 10-step program designed to 'enhance' education and credentialing efforts.


March 1, 2008  


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ORLANDO -A major organizational change now underway at BICSI was inevitable given the changing conditions of the information transportation systems (ITS) market, says Jerry Bowman, one of the driving forces behind an initiative called the NxtGEN Program.

Speaking here at the 2008 BICSI Winter Conference in January, Bowman, U. S. North-Central Region Director and a member of the board, outlined what prompted the reorganization and why it was necessary.

Two years ago, the board asked a group of members and volunteers to conduct a review of the RCDD program and come back with a series of recommendations. Their efforts resulted in the launch last June of the NxtGEN.

Outgoing president John Bakowski wrote in a recent issue of BICSI News that there is no denying that many changes have occurred in the ITS industry since the inception of the RCDD program. Shifts in the needs of members, customers and other stakeholders, he added, have left gaps in the publications, training and credentialing that the organization offers.

A recent BICSI press release noted that currently, BICSI credentialing has a linear path where a person can enter the organization as an installer or technician and then must become a RCDD prior to being able to obtain one of three specialty programs — Network Transport Systems, Wireless Design and Outside Plant.

“The NxtGen program will drive (our) strategic plan in building our credentialing and outreach programs,” said Bakowski, whose term as president ended in January.

Bowman, meanwhile, said three fundamental drivers forced the move including the fact that in some cases, the RCDD was becoming a barrier to those people who wanted the knowledge and credentials that “we offer in a specialty program: We found that employers had changed. Some were no longer willing to spend the two or three years in the investment to put a person through the program. We will address that issue this year.

“The second driver was that the experience and structure of the credentialing program within BICSI sometimes excluded people we wanted to include. It excluded in some cases, the technicians and installers who work very hard to develop their knowledge and skills. It excluded external stakeholders such as professional engineers, network professionals and sales and management professionals.

“The third was that our industry and stakeholders have changed. We cannot deny this. How we work, where we work, what is expected of us, the design industry itself, has changed considerably. In addition, the way we learn, the way we study, the way we work and the influence of the convergent space environment, the IP driven systems, all our changing what we do and how we work.”

On Dec. 8, the founding NxtGEN committee presented a business plan to the board that contained a series of recommendations designed to address any issues identified in their review.

They included:

• BICSI offering specialty exams sometime this year that will not require a RCDD designation.

• Plans being put in place to market credentialing program to employers and consumers in order to drive demand.

• The RCDD designation becoming more inclusive. “We feel there are a lot of professionals and emerging industries that need what we have,” Bowman said. “These include security, industrial and building automation systems.”

• Bringing more educational and sales management professionals into the BICSI fold.

• Reaching out to high schools, trade schools, high schools and colleges and universities. “We believe the next generation of BICSI members and credential holders will come from these places,” Bowman said. “Look for us to do a better job in the future.”

• Ensuring that BICSI publications, training and curriculum are up to date and in synch with what’s happening today in the marketplace.

“This is exciting and scary at the same time,” said Bowman. “As part of the strategic plan, we have determined that we need to create an elevated credential that might be more inclusive of global standards and build upon what we have in the RCDD technician specialty programs.

“Look for us in the next three to five years to introduce an elevated credential above the RCDD. It will provide evidence that you have enhanced capabilities above even what is required from the gold standard right now. It’s in early stages. In fact, I am not even sure what it will be called at this point.”