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I-CAR CEO John Edelen said that when he obtained his current position with the non-profit training organization three years ago, one negative comment that stuck with him was, “I-CAR is no longer relevant.” But he hopes that is no longer the case after unveiling, after much anticipation, a new and improved Professional Development Program at I-CAR’s annual conference in Chicago July 21.
After taking over I-CAR in 2007, Edelen vowed to listen to the industry as far as what it wanted that the organization wasn’t currently delivering. One of the action steps taken was the creation of an industry advisory panel, and the new Professional Development Program is a direct result of that panel’s feedback.
The new Professional Development Program consists of role-specific training aimed at delivering the necessary knowledge to repairers relevant to their positions.
Repairers will now have to progress through ProLevels 1, 2 and 3, as well as take a minimum of six hours of annual, role-relevant training, in order to be recognized as a Platinum Individual.
The roles have been defined as:
Steel structural technician
Aluminum structural technician
“A lot of guys said, ‘A lot of guys can be platinum but not be able to fix a car,’” Edelen said, indicating he believes these new requirements will mute that argument.
In order for a collision repair business to qualify for the Gold Class Professionals designation, it must have a Platinum Individual in each of four roles:
Steel structural technician
A shop can achieve the Gold Class Professionals Aluminum-Trained designation by having at least one technician recognized as a Platinum Individual in the aluminum structural technician role. A shop can achieve the Gold Class Professionals Electrical/Mechanical-Trained designation by having at least one technician recognized as a Platinum Individual in the electrical/mechanical technician role.
Individuals and businesses will have two ways to achieve or maintain their recognition. I-CAR has structured the transition over four phases through 2014 to ensure that those who have currently achieved the I-CAR Platinum Individual and I-CAR Gold Class Professionals continue to be recognized for their achievements.
For those who may not be able to maintain their designations by shifting to the new requirements or those for whom roles have not yet been identified, the “5&2” and “10&2” requirements will continue to be recognized through December 2011. Beginning in 2012, they’ll need to reach incremental milestones toward their full training requirement in order to maintain their designation.
“Because there is more training required to achieve the first I-CAR ProLevel, it’s important to identify roles early on and take training that’s role-relevant and meets the requirements for each level,” Edelen said. “This will ensure that there are no breaks in your designation and that you have continuous recognition for your achievements.”
To address shop owners who were concerned about how to know if their technicians learned anything, I-CAR has also come up with a ProLevel professional evaluator tool online that they can use to determine that.
“These changes have been shaped by the ongoing involvement of the
inter-industry and are grounded in what they have told I-CAR it needs
to do to deliver on its vision that every person in the collision
industry, current and future, has the necessary knowledge and skills
relevant to their position to achieve a complete and safe repair," Edelen said.