From The Tech Director - April - 2020

VTS Bridging The Gap From School To Shop

When I touched down the Friday before the Phoenix, AZ seminar, Keith Clark and I had planned to stop by a few colleges and talk about how ATRA can help bridge the gap from school to shop. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw at Glendale Community College and the Universal Technical Institute, UTI.

We spent the majority of Friday driving around the Phoenix area visiting schools. During this time, we wanted to introduce ourselves to the school and talk to them about how they can use ATRA’s Virtual Training Solutions as part of their curriculum. Our first stop was Glendale Community College in Glendale, AZ, the facility and faculty were second to none.

We toured their facility – state of the art! They have over 70 vehicles to choose from to provide hands-on training. The classrooms are adjacent to the massive shop. There’s a tool/parts counter where the students can swipe their ID Card to check out tools, toolboxes, or other specialized equipment like scan tools and testing meters.

The following day, we held our seminar at UTI. We had a similar experience with their facility. The facility was massive, providing the students with so many options and endless opportunities. Hallway after hallway led to large classrooms where students hone their trade.

We have an excellent opportunity and a good plan for attracting more young technicians to enter our industry. It starts with contacting the local colleges and inviting them to view the Virtual Training Solutions powered by ATRA. We partner with them by enrolling the school and its students into the VTS system. Once signed in, they can use it as part of the curriculum, extra credit, and teaching the subject matter. Now the really cool stuff begins!

The local chapters become the liaison between ATRA, local shops, and the schools. The schools can reach out to local shops for internships, mentorships, or job fair applicants. The combination of interactions with chapters, shops, suppliers, and the school will foster healthy relationships that will grow into a partnership with the association.

Building bridges that connect the school and the shop is essential. Clarification of mutual expectations is vital to fully understand what the schools, students, and shops will get out of the relationships. Moreover, it’s necessary to ask: What are the schools teaching the students? What are the student skills? What is the environment like at the shop? And any other appropriate details.

Some schools funnel students into the dealership service departments, but, if students have the drive to expand their career focus, what better place than the pinnacle of the transmission industry – an ATRA shop. Opportunities are flooding in, and we’re enrolling schools and students every week. From our interactions with Glendale Community College and UTI, we’ll add at least eight new instructors and over thirty new students to our program from just that one week.

Since we began last year, we’ve added over 400 hours of video training to the VTS site. We’ve contacted every ATRA member and over 270 schools, enrolling over 100 students! Schools, instructors, and students are eager to get state of the art training and insider information about our beloved transmission industry! Why not join with them and start using VTS today?