In the latest turn of events for RV industry technician training, the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will take over the Distance Learning Network (DLN) from the Recreation Vehicle Service Training Council (RVSTC) and provide certification-prep and advanced training classes to service technicians nationwide beginning in the fall.
“The (FRVTA) board felt that there was still tremendous value in the DLN and they didn’t want to abandon it,” said Lance Wilson, FRVTA executive director. “Their one goal is to train technicians.”
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) board voted in February to discontinue $200,000 in annual financing for the DLN in lieu of a less-costly Internet-based e-learning program RVIA is developing that will be coordinated by the independent RVSTC.
The RVSTC e-learning program, intended to be self-directed by the student, is scheduled to kick off in September at the same time DLN classes begin their next cycle.
Initially, FRVTA plans to offer streaming video of archived 2005 classroom sessions via the Internet into dealerships nationwide. Forty 90-minute classes will be available. Advanced and product-specific training may come later.
Using Florida state job-training grants, FRVTA pioneered the DLN for its members in the late 1990s, turning it over to the RVSTC in 2001. The program, which charged $1,400 to deliver classes to dealerships via satellite each Wednesday afternoon, was expected to break even, but lost more than $80,000 since going national in 2001.
FRVTA members will continue to receive archived DLN programming free as part of their membership while those outside of Florida will pay an annual registration fee that Wilson said has been set preliminarily at $995.
Wilson said FRVTA will budget about $160,000 to keep the program up and running after the current cycle of classes end in June. “There’s an assumption that it may go as much as 20% higher,” Wilson said. “We think there already has been a tremendous buy-in from dealerships throughout the country. There are still issues to be worked out, but our primary focus is to make sure the program is available to FRVTA members.”