The first thing to do is find out what schools near you have training programs. Use Find a Program to locate ASE-accredited programs in your area. Note that you can filter the listings:
Series: Choose from Automobile, Collision Repair and Refinishing, and Medium/Heavy Truck programs. There are many more Automobile programs than Collision Repair and Truck programs, but you don’t have to limit your scope. Many auto program graduates go to work in body and truck shops.
Education: Secondary (High School), Post Secondary (College) or Secondary & Post Secondary (Dual Enrollment). Programs that have dual enrollment include both high school and college students. Consider both high school and college programs in your area. You can certainly support more than one school.
If your need for technicians is immediate, you might assume that colleges are a better bet than high schools. College students certainly have some advantages: most will be over 18, have transportation, and be available for part-time work. But don’t overlook the potential in high school students. The best students may go on to college or go right into the industry. In either case, they are likely to already be employed when they graduate high school. You might also assume that your shop insurance prohibits employees under 18, but many states have regulations to specifically allow 16- and 17-year-old students to work in repair shops when participating in a structured work-based learning program.
Program Type: This identifies programs that are manufacturer-specific, which may be of interest if you are a new car dealer. But most schools with OEM-specific programs will also have a Standard (generic) program.
The listings include the name and phone number of a primary contact at the school. That may be an instructor, department head, Career and Technical Education (CTE) director, or dean. Larger school systems typically have a “Business & Industry” relations director.
There may be training programs at other schools near you that are not yet on the ASE list. These are schools that have met our high standards for program accreditation and should be good candidates for your time and efforts. Schools that are not ASE accredited may also be good partners, and there are a few different ways you might identify those. Ask your employees where they went to school, or where their children go to school. Or check the CTE page of your local school district’s website. If you have trouble narrowing down your choices or can’t seem to find an appropriate school, try calling your regional ASE Education Foundation Field Manager. They specialize in making connections between businesses and schools. Download our list to get the name and contact information for your Field Manager.
Once you have a target school in mind and a name and phone number, make an initial call to introduce yourself, explain your interest and learn a little about the program. Use the Initial Conversation Checklist to ensure that you cover everything. If the program seems like a possible fit, schedule a follow-up meeting.
Keep in mind that many schools are closed mid-June through Labor Day, and that instructors may only be able to return calls before or after the school day.
Meet with the instructor and administrators. Ask what needs the program has. Discuss how you can help the program, students, and industry by your involvement. Be sure to review your own goals and what you could gain from the program as well. The meeting can be in-person or using Zoom, but meeting in person at the school would give you the best feel for the program and staff. See the attached First Meeting Checklist for suggested topics to cover.
Make an action plan for your company. Once you have chosen a school, met with the staff, and identified opportunities for partnership, take action – identify staff members that will participate, put action items, meetings, and deadlines on the calendar, and make a formal commitment. It is easiest to start small with one or two things, such as a one-time donation or attending an advisory committee meeting, then look for other opportunities that make sense. See what works best and grow the partnership from there.
Step 2 of 8