The APSP Board of Directors approved a $1.3 million investment in education and training initiatives last week to meet the challenge of finding, hiring and educating qualified workers and to develop career paths within the industry.

The initiative will include upgrading all existing certification courses and developing new courses for both online and classroom consumption with an eye on young workers coming into the workforce. It will position APSP as an accredited education provider through The International Association for Continuing Education and Training.

“This is the first major investment an APSP Board has made in several years,” says Board President Jack Manilla, Portofino Pools (Jacksonville, Fla.). “We recognize that while the challenge to find and hire qualified workers is not limited to this industry, APSP and APSP University is in a unique position to deliver the residential, commercial, technical and business knowledge necessary to be successful in the swimming pool and hot tub industry today.”

“We plan to take our existing intellectual property, like our training manuals and workbooks, and integrate standards and the International Swimming Pool & Spa Code, to create separate subject modules that can be viewed as part of a whole course or individually, depending upon the need and learning pace of the student,” says APSP President and CEO Rich Gottwald. The initiative will result in more than 80 subject modules initially.

APSP will partner with Hanley Wood to convert existing APSP certification courses into an e-learning format that will feature videos, interactive exercises and  quizzes. New courses will be developed to address industry needs across the residential and commercial spectrum resulting from the ever-expanding marketplace.

“We felt that Hanley Wood was the best choice to help us develop and deliver these new products because they have a deep knowledge not only of pools, hot tubs and spas, but of the residential, design and commercial construction industry,” Gottwald says. “When you have the responsibility of not only attracting new people to an industry, as well as providing continuing education and certification offerings to those who have more advanced skills, you need a partner who understands all aspects of the trade and can help us take our offerings to the next level to address the challenges of workforce development.”

“Hanley Wood is very excited to be working with APSP on this transformative project for the pool and hot tub industry. Our significant experience in developing educational coursework and history of partnering with construction industry associations make for a great partnership with APSP,” says Hanley Wood Group President Rick Strachan.

Both APSP and Hanley Wood expect the project to last a year or more as the full curriculum is developed for APSP University. The courses will be rolled out as they are completed and a full listing will be available at APSPUniversity.org.

For more information, contact Carvin DiGiovanni at cdigiovanni@apsp.org.