Fleet Maintenance - 8



How fleets can connect
with tech schools
Finding qualified technicians requires active involvement with
educators. Start by joining a program advisory committee.

By Erica


The technician shortage has been continually touted as a national concern with a local
solution. But what does getting involved truly
look like?
In September, I listened in on the American
Trucking Association's (ATA) Technology &
Maintenance Council's (TMC) Technical Session,
"Supporting Technical Education to Help
Resolve Your Technician Shortage." Panelists
during the session shared real-world feedback
on how fleet businesses and educators have
worked together to establish effective communication and improve training curriculums.
A key driver to begin this process requires
setting up formal, consistent meetings with key
stakeholders to help ensure proper training
and update the training curriculum as needed.
Accredited education institutions often have
an established program advisory committee
(PAC) to gather input from community businesses. Fleets can represent these businesses
by participating.

Who should be involved?

The list of individuals to consider on this
committee includes representatives from the
educational facility, fleet businesses hiring
students after graduating, and any community
members with a vested interest in local jobs.
As it relates specifically to fleets, George
Arrants, vice president of ASE Education
Foundation, suggests the maintenance director,
service manager, and even technicians - especially those that may have gone through the
educator's training program - can all benefit
from attending these meetings.
From the educator's perspective, decision
makers on campus such as academic deans,
program directors, and faculty members
should participate, suggests Brad Kuykendall,
CEO of Western Technical College.
"Best practice is to also bring in a couple
of current students as well, so they can hear
exactly what [the] industry is looking for and
how the school is reacting and modifying to
meet industry needs," Kuykendall says.
A chairperson can help facilitate and drive
the conversation during these regular meetings.
"Normally, a program advisory committee chair or pack chair is an industry leader
that's out day-to-day in operations - either in
fleet management, dealership management,"
Kuykendall says. "They're the ones who are

8 Fleet Maintenance | October 2020

any hiccups or disconnects along the way,
getting feedback from former students really
helps grow the program because they're the
true customers."

Agenda and goals

		┬╗Fleets can drive changes that can
improve the training curriculum of future
technicians entering the workforce.
Photo courtesy of ATSS

leading and guiding the discussions and the
feedback on how the program can improve,
whether it be in terms of curriculum, equipment, the tools that are issued out to the
students in order to prepare them for their
work environment."
Arrants suggests finding an industry leader
to serve as the PAC chair - a business owner or
executive manager, at least for the initial meeting
- to show that the community is committed to
helping drive changes to the training programs.
"Find somebody who has stature and importance in the community to start," Arrants
suggests. "But anybody in your organization
can serve, and multiple people from the same
organization can serve on that PAC."
Local and state legislators may also provide
additional insight and welcome the opportunity
to help promote skilled trades. These individuals
have a vested interest in the community as well.
"The fact of the matter is that in most states,
the shortage of skilled labor has become
enough of an issue that legislators are scrambling to come up with creative and effective
solutions," says Kenneth Calhoun, fleet optimization manager for Altec Fleet Services.
Technicians that have gone through the
program are also key in driving change with
direct feedback from the experience.
"Probably the most important person to
serve on that PAC meeting is former students;
they're the true checks and balances," Arrants
notes. "[What] they learned in the program,
and more importantly, how they've been able
to apply it to the workforce. And if there were

"All of the agenda items should be related
around budget, student surveys, graduate
surveys, facility evaluations, internships,
workplace learning, all the things that engage
students and ensure that the students and the
program have the resources it needs," Arrants
says. "So once again, before you schedule a
meeting, or create a meeting, determine what
you expect to get out of that meeting, and
create the agenda backwards."
When conducting and participating in these
meetings, school representatives should take
detailed notes and share meeting minutes
at the beginning of each gathering to review
progress completed since the last meeting,
Kuykendall says.
"It gives the PAC members an opportunity to
review what they talked about the last time and
gives the school an opportunity to report back
on how they acted on those recommendations,"
Kuykendall adds. "That's critical, because that
ensures your input is valued, being taken into
consideration, and being used for improvement
to the programs."
Transparency at these meetings is also critical, notes Arrants. Meeting minutes should be
shared with key stakeholders at the school and
in the community.
There should also be an openness from
the educational facility to receive feedback.
Kuykendall advises an educational facility
truly has two customers: the students, and the
future employers - in this case, fleets and dealerships. If the educational facility is not open to
collaborating and making changes accordingly,
consider working with other educational institutions that may welcome your fleet's input.
"You absolutely cannot leave this for education to figure out on their own," Calhoun says,
regarding setting the training curriculum.
"There's nobody in their ranks that has had
to go through what we've gone through with
the emissions regulations, or even has a solid
grasp on the rate of change in our industry
from advancements in technology or federal
mandates. You have to be the voice that drives
that change."

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Fleet Maintenance

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance

Uptime: How Fleets Can Connect with Tech Schools
Editor's Note: The Aftertreatment Blues
Keys to Maximizing Trailer ROI
Best Practices for Maintaining Hydraulic Braking Systems
Solving the Parts Puzzle
Contending with Accelerated BEV Tire Wear
Cold Weather HVAC Considerations
Management: CMMS Marketplace
Economic Outlook: Signs of Economic Recovery
Diagnostics: Choosing the Right Diagnostic Tool for Roadside Triage
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial: The Propane-Powered Alternative
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: How Fleets Can Connect with Tech Schools
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Editor's Note: The Aftertreatment Blues
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - Keys to Maximizing Trailer ROI
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - 18
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - Best Practices for Maintaining Hydraulic Braking Systems
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - 22
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - Solving the Parts Puzzle
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - 28
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - 30
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - Contending with Accelerated BEV Tire Wear
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Cold Weather HVAC Considerations
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management: CMMS Marketplace
Fleet Maintenance - 37
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - Economic Outlook: Signs of Economic Recovery
Fleet Maintenance - 41
Fleet Maintenance - Diagnostics: Choosing the Right Diagnostic Tool for Roadside Triage
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - 45
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48
Fleet Maintenance - 49
Fleet Maintenance - 50
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - 53
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: The Propane-Powered Alternative
Fleet Maintenance - 55
Fleet Maintenance - 56
Fleet Maintenance - A1
Fleet Maintenance - A2
Fleet Maintenance - A3
Fleet Maintenance - A4