The Foundation for Advancing Security Talent (FAST) is a 501(c)(3) organization created by the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and the Security Industry Association (SIA) to promote careers in the physical security technology industry.
FAST is dedicated to connecting passionate, innovative professionals with new opportunities in the electronic security and life safety industry. Through a partnership of the industry’s leading associations, ESA and SIA, FAST brings awareness to the career advancement opportunities within the fast-paced technology industry that serves to keep people, places and property safe.
The physical security space encompasses a wide range of devices and technologies that are deployed primarily to manage risk and protect people and property from criminal and other threats in schools, hospitals, businesses, homes, government buildings, military installations and other sites. In many cases, the technologies can also be applied to operational purposes, such as employee accountability, equipment monitoring, retail traffic mapping and facility management, and these dual uses have significantly enhanced the value proposition of investments in the technologies.
The most widely-known security devices are video surveillance cameras, access control equipment and intrusion detection alarms. In recent years, though, the industry has expanded significantly to include emerging technologies such as drones and robotics, biometrics, algorithm-based analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). In addition, security devices are now frequently online, enabling remote security and as-a-service deployments and making cybersecurity a critical component of these solutions.
Workforce Development Needs
As industry members embrace more advanced technologies, the education, skill and training demands for their employees increase. This is true all along the supply chain – from manufacturers to distributors to integrators – and applies to varying degrees across many roles. Installers and sales representatives, for example, do not need to have the same level of technical knowledge as, say, a designer who is developing an AI system, but they do need to have enough proficiency to be able to work effectively with end users.
As a result of these labor demands, physical security industry companies regularly identify workforce development as one of their top challenges.
The Role of FAST
FAST seeks to help companies meet this labor challenge through three programs:
- Outreach to schools, colleges and universities to increase awareness of the exciting and rewarding careers that are available in the security space
- Research on the industry’s workforce development needs and possible solutions
- Continuing education resources to help those already in the industry stay current with rapidly emerging and evolving technologies
The physical security industry not only is at the leading edge of technological development, but it also has a unique role in the application of this technology to enhance community safety and quality of life. The Foundation for Advancing Security Talent supports this process by helping to ensure that companies are able to find and train committed and qualified employees who want to use their abilities in careers that are both productive and purposeful.
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