Monday, January 9, 2023



Thinking about making a change in careers? 

A company called the CoiL Learning Center is holding an interest meeting on January 11th in Columbia for a training program they call Stagehand Bootcamp.

LMG is looking for passionate and curious individuals who would like to jump start their career as stagehands in the live events industry! If selected for this fast-track program you will be enrolled in a free 12-hour express training course.

I have a few questions. If the company is called The CoiL Learning Center, who is LMG? And, if the training program is free, how does The CoiL Learning Center make money? Also, is there some significance to the work “CoiL”?

The CoiL Learning Center connects professionals, students, and local organizations with opportunities to Lead, Teach, and Learn in the events & entertainment industry. We develop strong partnerships with universities around the globe to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities in entertainment technology and jumpstart a career in the field.

I noticed that Howard Community College is once of those academic partners. I wonder if that’s where the training program will be held? When I saw the above photo my mind initially went to Merriweather but it would undoubtedly be difficult to run a hands-on stagehand course there in the middle of the winter.

Who is LMG? It turns out that its full name is “LMG Touring and Entertainment.” If you have time to kill, their website is pretty amazing.

LMG Touring & Entertainment is behind the scenes providing the technology, crew, and support for virtual and live productions.


After some preliminary digging around, my best guess is that The CoiL Learning Center works at the direction of clients like LMG. That’s where they make their money. After all, if you are not paying for the product, chances are that you are the product. Their job is to provide clients like LMG with a selection of applicants that have a basic set of skills. They don’t just train stagehands, either.  The CoiL Learning Center offers training courses, apprenticeships, and internships in a number of different areas in the entertainment industry. 

What about “CoiL”? Well, according to the University if Michigan at Dearborn:

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), a type of virtual exchange or telecollaboration, is a learning process where faculty members in any discipline use online technology to facilitate sustained student collaboration to increase intercultural competence.  Traditionally, COIL has taken place across national boundaries, but this process is ideal for bringing together any intercultural pairings where in-person contact is not practical. 

Hmm. I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here, exactly. Let’s take a look at their logo. 

A coil of cords? Could it be that simple? Maybe.

Are you wondering why I took the time to write about this today? It’s more than the fact that the course will be in Columbia. It’s also an interesting example of educational opportunities post-high school in a field I hadn’t ever thought much about. It’s experiential learning. Something else: when you dig into what The CoiL Learning Center teaches, it’s not just the nitty-gritty of doing the job. The term “soft skills” comes up over and over again in their literature.

I think that’s significant. This means that 1) soft skills are essential to successful performance of these jobs, and that 2) they’ve had enough applicants without soft skills that they’ve needed to make them a training priority. (For more about soft skills, here’s a basic explanation.)

Also, it’s a good reminder of how many layers of people it takes to put on a full scale event or show these days. There’s hard physical labor involved, plus the intricacies of sound, video, perhaps even special effects. When we are in the audience those folks are pretty much invisible to us. But the show couldn’t go on without them. 

Now, being a freelance stage hand is hard work. The shifts are long and the work can be dangerous. If you are working freelance there’s no benefits or health insurance. But, believe it or not, there is a union: the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. I was happy to see that. 

Let’s say you are young, and strong, and in great health and you absolutely love entertainment. This could be a dream job. Or it could be a step on the way to your dream job, a way to “learn the ropes,” a backstage glimpse into the inner workings of putting on a show in 2023.

Is enrolling in one of the programs offered by the CoiL Learning Center a good way to do that? Well, first you’d have to do way more homework than I have put into this piece. You’d want to make sure it is doing what it says it does, and if there’s proof positive out there that they are a reputable business. 

Some of our kids will complete four year college programs. Some will not. Some may pursue specialized programs at schools like our own Howard Community College. All deserve opportunities to put their skills and passions to work in a career that can sustain them. 

There’s more than one path. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.