SCTE's New Rebuild: Its Mission Statement

The Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers has taken on a rebuild project of its own, upgrading its mission statement to transmit new training and information aimed at attracting and keeping members.

This new mission, approved by the SCTE board in February, has three key lines of focus.

First, the trade organization's longstanding training and certification activities will be expanded and placed under a new "professional development" banner. That includes initiatives started last year to add new certification categories for the new digital skills demanded of cable engineers.

It also includes the online testing system initiated last fall, and a project to create a Spanish-language certification program using a grant from the Walter Kaitz Foundation.

"We feel professional development is broader than pure training and certification," SCTE CEO John Clark said. "It allows us to broaden some of the programs and services our members have requested."

The second mission line involves information services, with an expanded members-only online data-base set up to offer articles, white papers from past trade shows and links to other technology databases.

That database will likely take about a year to assemble, Clark said.

"Really, many associations are headed are to become what is described as knowledge-based associations, and we think there is great potential for us there," Clark said.

The third mission focus — standards — will be the one area that won't change much under the new guidelines.

"The feedback we have received is that our standards program is right on target. It's critically important to our present and future as an industry," Clark noted. "So that important program basically continues as is."

In addition to the three main planks, two additional goals have been added to the SCTE mission statement: Expansion of the membership ranks and improving retention.

That includes an effort to reach out to Spanish-speaking members, primarily in the United States.

"What we found out is there is a large segment of members who are conversational in English, but can study and test better in their first language," Clark said. "Providing tools will make it easier for them to take advantage of our opportunities."

SCTE also will expand services for Canadian engineers, and engineering students readying for a cable career.

That doesn't mean SCTE is having a problem attracting or keeping members, Clark was quick to add.

"It was really meant to get out ahead of a problem, as opposed to reacting to a problem," he said. "Our membership is steady; our retention is steady. But we think there is room for improvement."