The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) staff has been directed to search out an advertising agency to possibly develop an RV industry employment outreach program for dealerships with particular attention to service technicians.
The directive came at the request of the Recreation Vehicle Service Training Council (RVSTC) that met June 19 during RVIA Committee Week at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.
During the RVSTC meeting, members lamented the difficulty the industry experiences recruiting, educating and retaining dealership employees, particularly on the service floor.
“This is a positive step,” said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education, and RVIA liaison to the RVSTC. “With the backing of the executive committee we have a lot more horsepower behind us than ever before.”
Also during the meeting Paul Noeth, RVIA director of programming, previewed a new Internet-based e-learning program intended to prepare technicians for industry certification.
The self-paced, interactive training program was scheduled to roll out Aug. 1 at a targeted cost of $250 per student. Previously, the RVSTC sponsored the satellite-based Distance Learning Network (DLN), which now is being directed by the Florida Recreational Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA) with classes starting in September.
The DLN also will now be Internet-based but aimed more toward groups of employees rather than individuals.
The council heard data from the new chairman of the RVDA/RVIA Technical Certification Board who related that keeping track of service technicians may be as important as certifying them in the first place.
Lee FitzGerald of Venture Out RV Center, Bakersfield, Calif., said that Inalink, a professional telephone survey firm commissioned by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), could locate only 178 of 858 technicians whose certification had expired during the last 13 years. And only 51% of the 178 said they intended to be recertified.
Another 18% said they did not meet recertification training requirements and another 18% said they had left the RV industry. Five percent said they did not plan to seek recertification because they felt the value of certification had diminished while another 4% said recertification requirements were too complicated.