Here we are, almost a year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing a mask to a grocery store is commonplace, and we see many other examples of the changes we’re learning to live with every day.
For instance, I had some tires changed the other day. The new protocol was for me to drive my car onto the lift and stay in it while lifting the vehicle to change the tires. This new process runs counter to all previous procedures that were done in the name of safety. But, the upside was that I had plenty of time to listen to my library of business leaders; Dr. Stephen Covey is one of my favorites.
Life is different today and may never return to what we might consider “normal.” COVID-19 also dealt a series of blows to ATRA – stay-at-home orders for our staff, live seminar cancellations, and the cancellation of our industry’s biggest event, Powertrain Expo.
While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc with our great nation, in 2021, ATRA will introduce innovative training for our industry – different ways of training as well as greater flexibility and availability. For example, with live seminars on hold, (at least through the spring) we haven’t quit training. On the contrary, as the industry leader in transmission training, ATRA is upping the ante on virtual training. With the successful virtual Powertrain Expo training and a range of other video classes, we are on our way to breaking new ground in virtual training.
In early 2020, Lance Wiggins, ATRA’s Technical Director, and his team were already preparing to continue educating the industry through our online training programs. Furthermore, several schools were able to graduate their students through ATRA’s VTS program. We’re proud that many students graduated from their automotive classes and earned their degrees as a direct result of ATRA’s VTS program. This may be one of the proudest moments for ATRA and the beginning of a new chapter for your trade association.
As a result, ATRA will be in more technical schools across the country. Imagine hundreds of technical colleges training their students the ATRA way. Students will be trained in a manner that will provide ATRA member shops with a new crop of technicians that can fix cars and make the shop money.
Don’t worry that we’ve given up on live seminars, though. We’re ready to get back to the business of live training, but with a little twist. We’re working on logistical and tactical plans for offering hands-on training through the same technical colleges we’re helping to develop new technical specialists.
It’s a tall list of objectives and challenges, but we can do it with our team. It’ll be a new way of learning and doing for everyone – you, me, the young people entering this great field, and the veterans who have been in this business for years. Will you join with us to take on the challenge? If you do, I pledge ATRA’s full support.