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Friday, 01 February 2019 18:15

ASA Presents ‘The Even Better I-CAR’ Webinar

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On Jan. 30, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) hosted a webinar on “The Even Better I-CAR” at 1 p.m. EST featuring Nick Notte, senior vice president of sales and marketing for I-CAR.

 

Notte discussed some of the refinements to I-CAR’s Professional Development Program (PDP).

 

ASA Vice President Tony Molla welcomed attendees and introduced Notte. Molla noted that I-CAR has made some recent improvements since November’s plans and is constantly evolving. Notte explained that I-CAR evaluated its PDP 2.0 Launch and made some refinements between NACE and SEMA.

 

“That three-month period was especially busy for us because we got so much feedback about the Professional Development Program,” Notte said.

 

Due to delays in the learning management system design, I-CAR has delayed the launch from January to April 1. I-CAR has received feedback from shops regarding the perceived complexity of the program, such as increased levels of training, increased spending levels and a high demand for the new hands-on courses. After receiving an indication that more training would happen than initially planned, I-CAR also evaluated its staffing levels and realized it needed to adjust its capacity.

 

Additionally, I-CAR realized that the plan to utilize schools to deliver these hands-on courses was not feasible because the majority of the schools lacked the required equipment and facilities to hosts hands-on skill development classes.

 

Notte stated, “As we are changing our core product and service offering, all refinements must work in a logical and synchronized manner. [It is] a somewhat 3-dimensional, complicated process. We believe the outcome is a better solution for the industry and I-CAR.”

 

At NACE, I-CAR promised that Platinum would go to ProLevel 3 and Gold Class would turn to ProLevel 2, including the prohibition of one person in the shop from holding all four of the roles---though a single person can hold two roles in the new PDP. They talked about shop-level electrical/diagnostics and mechanical courses being required, eliminating turnover rules and adjusting requirements for annual training. In addition to welding certification and aluminum training, they also talked about the elimination of Road to Gold in December. However, that has now been extended through Feb. 28.


 

“I’m happy to say none of this has changed. We’re still delivering this to the industry,” Notte announced.

 

Notte then provided a summary of the future state refinements. The PDP protocol will include industry common and agreed protocol with a complete update based on industry feedback to cover knowledge and skills in more detail. I-CAR has designed a purpose-built curriculum with a national schedule at fixed training sites (FTS) and is working to make core PDP courses available in Spanish.

 

Many shops are uncertain of how pricing would work for the hands-on training because they have not yet been exposed to these courses. Therefore, I-CAR has decided to phase these in at two courses per year over an expected six-year period and likely beyond. I-CAR addressed cost concerns by offering a two-for-one deal for Gold Class shops on the two mandated classes (MIG Brazing and Squeeze Type Resistance Spot Welding) for 2019 only, with more information to come.

 

I-CAR’s plans for in-shop knowledge assessments have also undergone some refinements. Because many shops have already taken these welding and hands-on courses and have participated in in-shop assessments, there were objections to paying for these services again through the subscription. In response, I-CAR has de-bundled them from the subscription package and provided them on an a la carte pay schedule.

 

Some changes were also made to the transition from ProLevel 1 to ProLevel 2, providing more time for shops to achieve the 50/100 requirements.

 

“Let’s give the industry another year to get through that scaling and get up to the ProLevel 2,” Notte noted. “There are a couple of additional courses you’ll need to take; not a whole lot, but some of your technicians will have to train up to the new PDP courses as you transition, giving you an extra year to level up and figure out the program.”

 

Moving on to a couple more changes, Notte noted that the renewal dates always seem to collect in December. I-CAR has opted to spread out the renewal dates for Gold Class throughout the year. Annual training required will now include six VTST courses per technician, compared to the current requirement of six credit hours, which often winds up being more hours of training.


 

I-CAR will offer an unlimited access subscription that includes classroom, online and instructor-led virtual classes as well as turnover coverage and all-staff training.

 

Continuing in 2019, I-CAR will recognize I-CAR training as well as training through the qualified Industry Training Alliance during Gold Class onboarding. To keep Gold Class status, shops will undergo knowledge and skills protocol, recognition requirements and skills re-verification. While in-shop assessments will be optional in 2019, Notte anticipates it will become a requirement in the future.

 

Notte then moved into a pricing comparison of the core curriculum, noting that Gold Class shops receive 20 percent off the standard pricing. In the new program, only five live courses are required. Standard pricing will increase by less than $500 for an average nine-technician shop, but the pricing includes 126 courses compared to the 71 courses currently offered, which will get a shop to ProLevel 3.

 

“One of the stories this doesn’t tell is that the pricing is about the same, but you’re training more technicians, and again, the price is about the same. However long it takes you to get to ProLevel 3, this is the price to do that,” Notte explained. “There is also a monthly option to pay for that subscription.”

 

Applying the subscription approach, Notte examined the scaling formula to show that the annual base shop fee is $1,000, plus $325 per technician annually. This includes unlimited consumption of live FTS delivery, online/virtual courses and Ask I-CAR through the RTS product.

 

The skills re-verification process will actually be less expensive because a full course is not required unless the re-verification of skills cannot be demonstated. The in-shop knowledge assessment price will be reduced because I-CAR promises better efficiencies with a two-day visit in the future, compared to the current three-day visit for a shop of nine technicians.

 

After concluding his presentation, Notte answered questions from attendees about "The Even Better I-CAR.”

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