February '19

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38 • RV PRO • February 2019 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S There will be a lot of attention in Elkhart on what is going on there. But equally important to RVDA – and you know we have dealers all over the country – is the idea this isn't going to just be hoarded in one spot, but is going to be shared with accred- ited facilities and teachers at both private and public entities – even a dealership. It could be just about anything that meets the standards. RVIA took $5 million from reserves and Go RVing took $5 million from reserves, which is shared money between RVDA and RVIA. That really is enabling the quick rollout. This could have taken years and years if you had to raise all that money. It's money that is dedicated to this very important project and it's the first time the industry has – let's face it – where they've really put their money where their mouth is on this. RV PRO: Will existing credits for previous training/tech certification transfer? Ingrassia: There's still a lot to decide on the evaluation side. The training side is rolling. We still have to work on what the certification is. At this point, we're keeping those in place while this moves forward. We've made the commitment that nobody is going to lose anything. They're grandfathered in. RV PRO: The second Top Tech Challenge is set for the upcoming RVX show. Do you expect other competitions or other efforts to recognize those who excel to try to encourage other people to enter the field? Hugelmeyer: We haven't gotten to that yet. It's a good idea. Dealers are a little hesitant in my conversations with them in making their top techs too visible because they're afraid they will be stolen. At RVX, the big opportunity is the bells and whistles of promoting the best techs. That's a great thing, and the $10,000 prize that's part of that is going to create a lot of excitement at the event. The bigger thing is, because we are moving the event around – it will be in Texas next year (2020) – we can work with the local vocational schools – and we're already doing this in Salt Lake – and bring them into RVX and they will get to see the Tech Challenge and it creates an opportunity for us to play matchmaker with those technical schools and the dealers. We envision long-run at RVX that there's a job fair component built in. RV PRO: You mentioned the variety of possible hub training facilities, but are you mostly thinking vocational schools? Hugelmeyer: It's going to be more likely that our partners on the front end are people who are directly invested in the RV An important part of RVTI will be building a recruitment and placement procedure to identify prospective students and get them interested in the RV industry. The executive director will be able to move quickly and the core and hub will be operational by fall with a full curriculum, with a full facility and staff and recruitment in place. Technicians who have earned certifications through existing training programs will have those achievements grandfathered into the new system. The majority of the first-time students who have never been in the industry are expected to go through the Elkhart campus to start their education. But the overwhelming majority of the students will take courses through regional partners such as community colleges or even dealerships.

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