The Tenneco DRIVE program, now in its third year, continues to offer the next generation of undercar technicians hands-on technical training through an interactive partnership of cutting-edge technical materials and Web-based communication.
This fall, the DRIVE program will expand its outreach efforts, allowing 500 students at 10 institutions to benefit from this unique, one-year program.
"I started this program four years ago, when my son began taking automotive classes at our local high school," says Carri Irby, brand manager for Monroe and Walker, Tenneco Inc. "The teacher asked if I had anything he could use as a visual aid in the classroom. So I put together the first DRIVE kit, and then we worked together to launch the program to high schools and technical colleges around the country."
Irby says the DRIVE program targets approximately 10 institutions a year, the maximum number she can handle on her own. DRIVE's interactive training program offers instructors a comprehensive kit containing disassembled ride control product samples, exhaust product cutaways, training posters and instructional videos, as well as in-classroom demonstrations and online interaction with the Monroe and Walker engineering and marketing teams. All Irby asks in return is that the students participate in a short, online survey to provide her with feedback about the program.
DRIVE-in a technical resourceRecent industry research indicates that the total number of ASE-certified technicians has been declining steadily since 1995. In fact, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) estimates that there are approximately 60,000 positions open at any given time in repair shops across the country. And experts say the situation is only going to get worse, especially as aging baby boomers retire and leave the industry.
"Tenneco is committed to being a leading provider of technical training for the next generation of repair professionals currently enrolled in vocational education programs," says Ric Alameddine, Tenneco vice president of marketing.
This commitment to the next generation of automotive technicians has inspired Tenneco to promote the DRIVE program as an investment in the future of independent automotive service businesses and its talented technicians.
"I see the DRIVE program as a way to boost current automotive programs and to make them more real for students," Irby says. "It's a way to mix up the curriculum for the students and give the teachers different tools to teach with. I'm excited to help these upcoming technicians."
More than 1,400 students have participated in the DRIVE program since its inception. Of those students, more than 74 percent of the respondents in Irby's online surveys have indicated that they intend to pursue a career in the automotive industry.
For more about the Tenneco DRIVE program, write to Tenneco DRIVE Marketing Program, One International Drive, Monroe, MI 48161.