Demand for community association managers to help boards fulfill their responsibilities remains high as the number of communities continues to grow across the country. Unfortunately, not enough individuals are entering the profession, meaning that community association management companies and boards will need to work harder than ever to create and support a talent pipeline.
Some management companies provide managers with the opportunity to learn on the job. The Foundation for Community Association Research’s recent report, Attracting Talent to the Community Association Management Industry, notes that 52% of CEOs and hiring staff who responded to a survey fielded in December 2020 say their company has a training program designed to promote current employees to community manager roles. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) report having internship programs for college students.
Recognizing the need for a talent pipeline, CAI’s Rocky Mountain Chapter partnered with Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colo., as well as workforce development agencies in the state, to establish an apprenticeship program in August 2020—the first of its kind for prospective community association managers.
The two-year, paid apprenticeship combines coursework through the college with up to 40 hours per week of on-the-job training at participating management companies, which also assign mentors to the apprentices. Those who successfully complete the program obtain a certificate in business administration, an apprenticeship certificate from the Colorado Department of Labor, and professional credentials that reflect their knowledge as they prepare to enter community management.
Having a structured program benefits the students by “making them feel like they have the experience and the knowledge necessary to do their job,” says Melanie Peck, CMCA, director of operations at TMMC Property Management in Castle Rock, Colo., and 2021 president of the CAI Rocky Mountain Chapter.
The apprenticeship program also addresses some of the shortcomings of training new community managers by taking time to develop their skill set and knowledge in areas such as laws and regulations, finances, organizational management, governance, property maintenance, and resident relations, says Denise R. Haas, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CEO of 5150 Community Management in Englewood, Colo.
“As a management company owner, it’s been encouraging to have (the apprenticeship program) help enhance training to provide a well-rounded individual to put in front of our communities,” remarks Haas, a past president of the chapter.
Haas believes that the program will foster more committed community management professionals, which will benefit employers long term. “We want management company executives to understand that this isn’t a shortcut. This is somebody that we’re creating for the long haul,” she says.
Peck agrees. In addition to setting up a talent pipeline, the program also is meant to increase longevity in the community management profession. “It’s a shift in thinking about how we approach getting new talent into community association management and getting people interested and excited about this profession as a lifelong career path.”
>>Download the full Attracting Talent to the Community Association Management Industry report.