Creating Opportunities for Emerging Lighting Professionals

March 1, 2022 Rachael Jernigan

Beginning any new job or career can bring on a unique set of challenges, especially in an unfamiliar industry. Learning the correct terminology, making the right connections, and finding a way to forge one’s own path for career growth are all par for the course in those first few months, and possibly even years in a new trade.

One thing that speaks to emerging professionals (EPs) and keeps their engagement with a company is the capacity to develop and hone their skillset within that industry and role. The ability to turn a job into a career is something that EPs seek while researching companies and filling out applications.

With thousands of emerging professionals entering the lighting industry every year – the Illuminating Engineering Society alone had 875 active EPs in 2020 – Acuity Brands has created programs to empower these new professionals, showcase their talent, provide them mentor opportunities, and have fun in the process to ensure the right steps are available to develop a career path.  ​

The newest effort is Emerging Minds, a competition emphasizing the importance of putting the focus on those joining the industry and making space to hear about new ideas coming from the next generation of lighting professionals. Who better to showcase the fixtures, business solutions, work, and educational applications of the future than those who will be designing them? Acuity is putting the spotlight on the future vision and talent of the lighting industry!​

Applicants will choose from one of the three categories: Fixture Design, Marketing or Business Plan, or Education or Office Applications to create their submission. Three 1st place winners of Emerging Minds will be awarded a trip to the upcoming International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) Enlighten Americas 2022 Conference in Palm Springs, CA, including airfare, lodging, and a travel stipend. Six 2nd place winners will be awarded a trip to the Acuity Brands Showroom in New York City to attend Acuity Academy Classes, including airfare, lodging, and a travel stipend.

Emerging Minds is hosted by Acuity Academy, the training and education resource within Acuity Brands, which offers year-round learning opportunities for everyone in the industry. The most popular program is Lighting Fundamentals, a crash course in lighting concepts. Attendees learn about light sources, the evolution in technology, lighting terminology, photometry, and luminaire classification. This course is available on-demand, live virtually, or live in-person.​

Acuity Brands also highlights the importance of supporting emerging lighting professionals through the Besal Fund, a continuing scholarship program designed for advancement of education in illuminating engineering disciplines. This separate, not-for-profit enterprise is made possible by contributions from Acuity Brands Lighting and Controls, its sales representatives, and employees. The scholarship fund is merit-based, and recipients are selected on the basis of academic excellence, faculty and professional recommendations, as well as the demonstration of lighting interest and skills that are exhibited in submitted materials.

Submissions for the Emerging Minds competition and nominations for the Besal Fund are open now.

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