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Mentoring the Next Generation

AFSA NextGen Launches New Mentor Program 

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), the leading merit shop fire sprinkler trade organization, has empowered its young professional affinity group the NextGen Initiative (NGI) to create a mentoring program, which aims to pair young people in the industry with more established industry experts. NextGen plans to nurture the industry’s next generation of talent by offering guidance to high school and college students, military veterans, and others seeking to launch their careers by introducing them to like-minded professionals. NextGen also hosts to engage more young people by hosting job fairs, panel discussions, and other public events. 

“Of all of the projects NGI has taken on in the few years since its inception, this is the most exciting and the most important,” says NGI National Chair Meaghen Wills, Anchor Fire Protection in Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania. “Mentoring is an important piece for growth personally and professionally and we’re now able to promote that within the industry. There’s no better way to grow than from your peers within the industry.” 

This year, NGI’s focus is to help young people get started on career paths in an array of craft and technology roles involved in fire prevention. AFSA members include those associated with install and fabrication, layout and design, and engineering, and technology development. 

“The future of the fire sprinkler industry depends on the continuous influx of bright, young talent,” says AFSA Director of Communications & Social Media Nicole Duvall, NGI staff liaison. “Our members have accumulated a lifetime of knowledge, experience, and insights across a diversity of specialized crafts and vocations, and they are eager to share their expertise with young people who want to follow in their footsteps.” 

AFSA’s NGI, whose membership is focused on those age 40 and under, plans to partner with high schools and universities to increase student awareness for career opportunities in the fire prevention industry. Through its local chapters, NGI will host job fairs, provide speakers, and sponsor panel discussions at local AFSA chapter events. They also seek to connect schools with mentors with specialized expertise to help improve fire sprinkler educational programs and attune them with current industry practices and employment needs. AFSA’s NGI will host a kick-off “Mentor Mixer” on October 2 at the conclusion of “NextGen Day” at AFSA38: Convention, Exhibition, and Apprentice Competition in San Diego October 1-4, 2019, for those interested in mentorship. Details and information on how to sign-up to either mentor or be mentored are posted at https://www.firesprinkler.org/mentor.


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