Where Have All the Certified RV Technicians Gone?
Editor’s Note: Jim Carr, training director for the Florida RV Trade Association, notes a decline in RV technician recertifications and shared his findings in a column written for the August issue of FRVTA News. Here are excerpts from that column.
My topic this month is Technician Recertification, an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I sit on the RVIA/RVDA Technician Certification Governing Board and one of the issues we’ve dealt with over the past years has been getting and keeping our technicians certified.
When the Florida Distance Learning Network and online training went to the national level in 2003, we increased the number of newly certified technicians by dramatic numbers. Now those numbers are coming up for recertification. The latest statistic I have seen, and that was in July, is there are 555 certifications up for renewal in 2009. As of July, only 121 have submitted the necessary renewal paperwork or only 22%. We cannot afford to lose almost 80% of our class of ‘04 certified technicians. And 2010 promises to have an even larger number of technicians coming up for recertification.
Where are our technicians going? Why are they not renewing their certifications? Is it the economy? Is it they just are not seeing any value in being certified? These are tough questions with not very clear answers unfortunately.
Surveys have shown that our technician population is very mobile and our process of notification for renewal often times goes to five-year-old, outdated addresses, either employment addresses or personal addresses. Very little forwarding occurs. To that end, with the FRVTA Boards’ blessing, we are embarking on a directed mission to make sure our Florida technicians become recertified.
RVDA has provided me lists of all Florida certifications coming up for renewal in 2009 and 2010. This totals 130 technicians. They are listed by dealer where that information was provided or by individual address. I will make a concerted effort to meet with each dealer and technician listed to make sure they understand the recertification process and monitor that process to its positive conclusion.
Hindsight tells us that current economic conditions will change; there will be an upturn in our industry and hiring will commence. Where will we find our technicians? Will there be sufficient certified techs available? Or will we have to start back to where we were in 2000, scrambling to train and certify all our “green peas” while waiting for them to be productive. Can we afford that?
As I visit your dealerships in the coming months and through the next year and a half, I will bring my lists of technicians needing recertification. Hopefully, together we can get as many of these folks over that recertification hurdle as possible.
Please do not hesitate to call me (386-754-4285) if you have any questions. Thanks and I look forward to working with you on this very worthwhile project.