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RVDA’s Faculty Cut Decision Has ‘No Real Impact’

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LearningCenter v5The net effect of the decision of the RVDA Education Foundation’s board of directors to terminate the faculty program component of its RV Learning Center will be minimal, reports Phil Ingrassia, vice president of communications for the Fairfax, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).

RVDA Education Foundation Chairman Rick Horsey, a Delaware dealer, informed the independent “faculty” trainers aligned with the RV Learning Center by letter in mid-April that the Learning Center had “indefinitely suspended” the program, which was a way for RVDA to identify qualified trainers for its membership. “It had run its course, and we continue to work with all those training providers,” Ingrassia told RVBUSINESS.com. “Nobody did anything wrong. We still have many (trainers) involved in workshops at the convention (the Con/Expo in early October).”

Among the trainers involved in the Learning Center’s “faculty” component were Kelly Enterprises, Marzahn & King Consulting Inc., Motley Consulting and Teaching, Sobel & Associates, Spader Business Management and Life Lessons–Bob Ash.

“Regretfully,” Horsey wrote in the mid-April letter to faculty members, “the program did not meet my original expectations. Most evident was my lack of foresight in not recognizing the competitive atmosphere and proprietary aspects of the training industry. With these obstacles, we are unable to jointly develop curriculum for the RV Learning Center.

“We are also unable to meet the expectations of faculty for providing direct training or referral business,” he continued. “The decision to suspend the program is not a reflection on the value the board feels faculty members provide the RV industry, or their relationship with RVDA. The board hopes that without the constraints of the foundation faculty program, the RV Learning Center will be in a better position to work on an individual basis with training providers.”

Through the certification programs provided by the RV Learning Center, which is “supported by dealers, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and other RV industry members committed to dealership education and the high levels of customer service that is provided by educated employees,” dealership employees hone skills in specific areas, including service manager, service writer/advisor, warranty administrator, parts manager, and parts specialist.

Among the Learning Center’s training and professional development options:

  • Educational opportunities via the Internet, audio, DVD/CD-ROM, and print publications, e.g., manuals.
  • Learning Guides (available both in print and on CD-ROM) as preparation for the RV Learning Center’s five certification tests.
  • Live classroom training and custom dealership consultation.
  • RV Technician magazine – published online, six times a year.

Ingrassia, again, emphasized that the faculty decision will impact neither programming nor educational offerings. “There’s nothing that’s changed for the core learning center programs,” he said. “The faculty program was designed to work with trainers for mutually beneficial training opportunities for dealers. And as Rick pointed out in his letter, what we didn’t’ take into account was the competitive nature of the training. You know some of this stuff is proprietary. The level of cooperation was good, but it didn’t come out the way we expected. So the board just decided to suspend the program.”

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