New York, NY – USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. has accepted a permanent seat on ESTA’s new Certification Council. The Certification Council is the governing body which will manage the development and implementation of a new industry-wide certification program for entertainment technology technicians.

USITT President Bruce Brockman has appointed Dennis Dorn, USITT Vice-President for Commissions and professor of theatre technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as USITT’s representative to the Council. He has also appointed Joe Aldridge, USITT Vice-President for Special Operations, professor and technical director at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and a trustee for IATSE Local 720-Nevada Resort Association’s Training Trust as their alternate member of the Council.

President Brockman commented, “USITT strongly endorses this project. Certification in key areas of the performing arts industry will not only ensure employers of qualified and well trained technicians, it will also provide those working in the performing arts an important professional credential. For our members who work in education as well as those who work professionally in the industry, certification will be a significant issue, and USITT is pleased to be playing a part in the development of this project.”

Upon his appointment Mr. Dorn said, “I am delighted to represent USITT as a partner in the effort by ESTA members to assure that stage technicians will be well versed in the new technologies and long-time safe practices required of modern entertainment industry technicians. The proposal of establishing industry-wide competency standards and setting up training programs has been discussed for many years. Now that the idea has finally come to fruition, we will all benefit from the enhanced level of professionalism that our employees bring to the workplace.”

“Having worked as a stagehand for the IATSE Local, and at the University, I often see people entering the workplace without the necessary skill sets to do the job,” Mr. Aldridge said. “Certification is an excellent idea which needs to happen.”

ESTA President Mike Wood commented, “We view USITT’s involvement in the Certification Program as an absolute must. Our two organizations have a long and beneficial history of working together, particularly in the area of standards development. Also, USITT members made their voices clearly heard in support of certification during our feasibility study.”

The ESTA Certification Council will represent the diversity of the industry. Members will include key leaders in entertainment business, labor, facilities, associations, and academia. ESTA is in the process of extending invitations for Certification Council membership. IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has also accepted a permanent seat on the Council. The key areas of electrical skills and rigging skills have been identified for initial development in the ESTA Personnel Certification Program.