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The Florida Recreation Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA) unveiled plans for the second phase of its satellite-based, distance-learning program during its 2000 state convention at Sanibel Harbour Resorts & Spa, Fort Myers.

The new focus of FRVTA’s education program will be to bring new technicians into the industry, although the need may have been reduced by the weekly classes that have been beamed into 45 dealerships since the program began in January.

“During a breakout session, dealers told us that their (technicians’) efficiency ratings are up and their call backs are way down because of the education program,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the FRVTA. “The prediction had been that we would need 300 to 400 new technicians in Florida over the next five years. (But) existing technicians are becoming more efficient, so the need for training new techs seems to be dropping.”

Nonetheless, Wilson said, the association is forging relationships with counselors at technical schools and high schools to arrange for students at the senior level to receive initial RV training over the satellite network.

The program is being offered in conjunction with Lake City (Fla.) Community College, which is coordinating the classes, and the University of South Florida, which is transmitting the satellite signal.

Sessions are 1 1/2 hours each Wednesday evening, and can be video-taped for presentation later.