Some 200 companies – manufacturers and retailers – are expected to sign up individuals for the third year of technician training classes via satellite when the program resumes on Wednesday nights in September.
“We are still growing, and we are growing at a respectable rate,” said Mel Adams, chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Service Training Council (RVSTC) and president and CEO of supplier Airxcel Inc., Wichita, Kan.
During a meeting last month, the RVSTC Board voted to require anyone wanting access to the satellite system to pay a $1,300 “access fee” in lieu of tuition for classes.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) had argued that the satellite system should be available without a fee to dealers wanting programming other than the 40-week technician training series. Three dealers last year sought fee exemptions while enrolling in sales training classes sponsored by RVDA.
“We need the financial support to have any program on the air,” Adams said.
Jim Carr, director of the RV Training Institute at Lake City (Fla.) Community College, from which the satellite classes originate, said nearly a dozen manufacturers have committed to 16 to 20 weeks of advanced programming on Tuesday and Thursday nights beginning the first week in September.
Carr expects other companies to fill the remaining class periods by the time classes begin.
“What we hope is that we won’t have to turn anybody away,” Carr said. “We can go for more time on other days, depending on demand.”
Some of the advanced courses will be product-specific, while others will deal generally with RV systems. The council also intends to develop general advanced courses on lemon laws, pre-delivery inspection, customer walk-throughs and other subjects.
During the meeting, in addition, the council decided to make classes available this year for the first time over the Internet for those who have broadband cable or telephone service. “It’s not changing the program, and it will
still be a television feed,” reports Bruce Hopkins, RVIA’s vice president of standards and education. “If a dealer has cable access, though, they don’t have to spend the $2,500 for a satellite dish.”