New universal training standard for cleaning technicians announced
The unfortunate reality is that, as an industry, we do not always devote enough time to training.  In fact, it is not unheard of to hand a new employee a mop and bucket and say “Have at it; go clean that house, Jerry.”  Terrifying, no?  

Quite often we do not focus enough attention on the backbone of the industry: the cleaning professionals who are actually performing the cleaning.  How many of these employees truly take pride in their work?  How many of them understand the value of a clean indoor environment as it relates to customer preference, and health?

It should come as no surprise that our industry experiences an employee turnover rate between 300 and 400%, a rate that is embarrassingly high.  In addition, many cleaning professionals in the United States and Canada are not native speakers of English or otherwise require unique approaches to training.  Until now, these needs have not properly been addressed.

ISSA is excited to announce the launch of a brand new program: CITS, the Cleaning Industry Training Standard.  CITS has been designed specifically to help address the need for training, improved professionalism, and increased industry pride by focusing on frontline cleaning professionals and the companies that train them.  

CITS represents ISSA’s latest initiative to help “change the way the world views cleaning” and is a sister program to the association’s popular Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS).  Where CIMS focuses on the management of an entire cleaning organization, CITS focuses on the training of frontline cleaning professionals.

Cleaning Professional Certification
Frontline cleaning workers have the opportunity to achieve multiple levels of certification.  Cleaning 101 assesses a cleaning service professional’s general understanding of cleaning best practices in the areas of cleaning for health and safety and is administered through an online exam.  Advanced designations are available by participating in verified training programs in various specialties.  In other words, a cleaning service professional is able to achieve an advanced designation in Carpet Care if they participate in a verified industry carpet care training program.  

Training Programs/Curriculum Verification
Training program providers (manufacturers, distributors, residential cleaning companies, etc.) can have their training content reviewed and verified by an independent third party.  A series of standards specific to various training categories (e.g., hard floor care, customer service, safety, etc.) form the basis for the reviews. In addition to meeting the relevant category specific standard, all programs are required to contain certain training best practice elements such as a course name, time frame, objective, materials required, and lesson outline, as well as a comprehensive examination.  These programs may be prescriptive, meaning a company can promote its products as long as it meets all aspects of the training standard.

Accreditation of Professional Trainers
Industry professionals will be given the opportunity to attend a workshop on the best practices/principles of effective training and adult learning.  Those who successfully complete a workshop and pass an examination will achieve accreditation as a professional trainer and will be eligible to deliver CITS training as well as proctor and grade exams.  The A.C.T. (Accredited Certification Trainer) workshop will be hosted in conjunction with CIMS I.C.E. workshops throughout 2015.

Similar to CIMS, the CITS program was developed through a committee-based process and is specifically designed to apply to all segments of the industry.  With attention focused on the training of frontline cleaning professionals and the cementing of business relationships, ISSA’s CITS program truly is advancing clean and driving innovation.

For more information on verifying your program, becoming a CITS-Trainer, or having your employees certified, contact ISSA’s Will Reed at 800-225-4772 or

Will Reed leads ISSA’s new Cleaning Industry Training Standard, designed to empower their mission in “changing the way the world views cleaning” through improved technician training and support.