Training for Success

As the technology of today rapidly evolves into the technology of tomorrow, it is imperative to keep abreast of the latest automotive developments. Training is a vital ingredient of a continuous learning process, and a wide array of training forums exist. Examples include training in a traditional classroom setting with a group, an individual studying at home or through the use of media such as satellite broadcast or Internet. iPod downloads are becoming more accessible, while NOMAD©, an expert technician system featuring a hands-free wearable computer, promises on-the-job access to critical maintenance information. Determining which method best suits an audience’s needs involves evaluating criteria such as the training’s effectiveness, quality, and cost. However, one of the most important indicators of a training program’s success is recognition by a key industry player, such as the Automotive Training Manager’s Council (ATMC).

ATMC is an organization of training professionals representing a wide range of automotive, heavy truck, and other related industry interests. Sharing a common focus of training excellence, its members include original equipment manufacturers, aftermarket suppliers, fleets, educational institutions, independent trainers, technician hot-lines, trade press and other professional associations such as the American Automobile Association and the Automotive Service Association. The group—founded in 1984—encourages its members to exchange ideas to improve training effectiveness as well as keep informed with vehicle innovations and the latest training design, development and delivery methods.

With innovations in vehicle technology, training delivery methods, information management and even economic conditions, there has never been a more important time for participating with organizations like ATMC. At past conferences, the council has introduced diverse technical issues like alternative propulsion systems, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, technician recruitment and leading-edge training issues like e-learning, training ROI and service bay information retrieval using wireless diagnostics and personal heads-up service information systems.

ATMC sponsors its annual Training Excellence Awards Program, a well-respected indicator of training program quality and success. The award provides recognition for industry programs deemed “best of the best.” Any automotive, heavy truck or other training program designed for vehicle industry employees is eligible, although only one program may be submitted per company per year, and programs previously accepted may not be re-submitted.

ATMC Training Excellence Award entries are judged by a wide range of industry training professionals who evaluate each program based on areas of Needs Analysis, Learning Objectives, Training Material Quality, Program Effectiveness, Training Takeaways, and Training Program Recognition. These criteria parallel many key points in the standard Instructional Systems Design Model and are also in alignment with the Continuing Automotive Service Education standards set by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

Winning entries, which may fall into categories including Traditional Leader-Led Training, Web-based training, or e-learning, are announced at ATMC’s annual fall meeting. In addition, the award is also presented at a location of the winner’s choice to ensure that they are recognized in a venue appropriate to their industry position. Recent locations have included the Technology Maintenance Council, Show-Power, and company annual meetings. Winning companies also frequently present their own plaques or other awards to the actual program developers.

ATMC prides itself in replicating the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for vehicle industry training programs, and winners may use the official ATMC award logo on the winning program. Winning companies may also refer to themselves as “ATMC Award Winners” in other company communications. Training Excellence Award winners are featured speakers at ATMC conferences where samples of winning programs from past years are also displayed. Previous ATMC Training Excellence Award winners include Federal Express, Federal Mogul, Fluke, Jiffy Lube, NAPA, Navistar International, and Snap-On.

“It’s never too early to start planning for next year,” said ATMC training awards chairperson Bonne Karim. “Since program effectiveness and industry recognition are important judging criteria, it is best to submit an established program to have a well-documented application. A good way to learn more about the award process is to attend an ATMC meeting. You can talk with past winners, sit in on the Training Awards Committee meeting, and even volunteer as a judge.”

If you are interested in submitting one of your company’s award-worthy training programs for industry recognition next year and wish to learn more about ATMC and its Training Excellence Awards, visit www.atmc.org.

Mr. Ebron has been the Executive Director of the NAFTC since October 1999, guiding the organization as it’s grown to include 29 National Training Centers located throughout the United States. During his tenure he has managed nearly $15 million in programmatic funds and spearheaded the highly successful National AFV Day Odyssey. Mr. Ebron earned a B.A. in Business Management from North Carolina State University and an M.B.A. from West Virginia University.

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