Automotive apprenticeship program approved by state of Washington

ASA-NW announces plans to implement technician training program

Lakewood, Wash.—ASA Northwest has announced that its Independent Technicians Automotive Committee (ITAC) apprenticeship program was approved Oct. 18 by the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council (WSATC), a division of Labor & Industries (L&I).

“We were thrilled to have our program accepted after more than four years of development,” said Conrad “Butch” Jobst, AMAM, founder of B&B Automotive in Aberdeen, chairman of the board of ASA Northwest (ASA-NW), and education committee chair.

“The very idea of apprenticeships will enable automotive businesses to find, hire, and train employees not only in the trade knowledge, but in the culture of our industry and individual shops,” Jobst said. “Washington State approved apprenticeship standards and all that entails goes a long way to help our industry be recognized for the major role we play in the lives of nearly every state resident.”

Jobst said the ITAC committee, along with representatives and consultants from L&I, first met in March of 2014 to discuss the shortage of qualified technicians and what ASA-NW would encounter in order to develop an apprenticeship program. As the program began its development process, he said several people were key players over the years in assisting with the evolution and structure of the program.

They include Ed Cushman, AMAM, former owner of C&H Foreign Auto in Spokane; Nick Stengel, technician at C&H; Kandie Jennings-Molloy, AAM, owner of Tom's Automotive Service in Seattle; John Bradley, technician at Tom’s; Todd Ainsworth, co-owner of Swedish Automotive in Seattle; Wayne Bridges, retired auto instructor at Clover Park Technical College, Tacoma; Joel Baxter, AMAM, co-owner of B&B Auto & Truck in Bremerton; Reto Filli, AAM, retired owner of Circle & Square Auto in Port Hadlock; Jerry Smith, Parts & People, Ashford; and several other industry professionals.

The ITAC program has three levels, Jobst said, with much of the curriculum based on ASE Education Foundation (formerly NATEF) standards, as well as state regulations, standards and curriculum from accredited schools, and input from ASA members.

The ITAC Youth Technician program is a two-year, 2,000-hour General Service Technician (GST) program that includes 200 hours of related instruction at the high-school level, Jobst said. The Adult Technician program (for those 18 years old and above) is a one-year, 2,000-hour program with 200 hours of instruction on the post-secondary level.

A Master Service Technician (MST) Program is an additional three years with a total of 8,000 hours and 600-800 hours of instruction at the college level.

While ASA-NW is finalizing the details for shop sponsorship and participation, Jobst said ASA-NW member shops will be required to have an appropriate mentor technician on staff. “Apprenticeship in adult programs are designed around a full-time job at a shop with the apprentice spending additional time each week on Related Supplemental Instruction (RSI). This additional RSI will take place on nights and weekends and will involve about four hours per week,” he said.

“Shops will receive assistance to meet the program standards,” Jobst said. Initially, program field assistance will be provided by Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) staff who assisted in the development of ITAC, and augmented by the ASA-NW education committee. Within two years, Jobst said a full-time ITAC coordinator will be on board at the ASA-NW headquarters in Lakewood.

ITAC pilot programs are set to begin next year in Spokane Yakima, and two in the Pierce County area, Jobst said. Once programs are functional in Washington, ASA-NW is interested in expanding to other member states.

“One of the vital roles ASA-NW needs to work hard on is partnering our industry with our education system. Since early 2018, we have been actively working with secondary and post-secondary educators to help schools develop curriculum, help all of us to better communicate with parents (of prospective students) and the public, and help shops grow and prosper through being able to employ competent technicians that are a result of education programs.”

For details or questions about ITAC, email asanw.itacapprenticeship@gmail.com. For more recent ITAC coverage, visit Parts & People’s July article, “ASA-NW finalizing technician apprenticeship program,” at partsandpeople.com.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.