LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The International Tire and Rubber Association, which offers training and certification for commercial tire service technicians, plans to develop a similar program for those who install and service passenger and light truck tires. In doing so, the association joins the Tire Association of North America, which recently began offering Internet-based training for workers who install and service passenger and light truck tires.
The ITRA's program differs from TANA's, however, in that it will be hands-on, said Executive Director Marvin Bozarth. The association plans to tap into technical programs offered at junior colleges and high schools across the country, asking them to include a tire program as part of their automotive curriculum.
The tire segment would cover such topics as tire repairing, mounting and demounting, proper wheel-torquing methods and identifying wheel components, as well as undercar analysis, Mr. Bozarth said.
The ITRA will arrange to use classrooms to conduct its own training as well, Mr. Bozarth said, noting the association met with three colleges the week of Feb. 20.
He expects training for passenger and LT tire technicians will begin by late summer or early fall.
TANA, meanwhile, is considering expanding into hands-on training as well, said David Poisson, the group's executive vice president. ``Ultimately we'll have something along those lines,'' he said.
In addition to plans for passenger and LT tire training, the ITRA has begun allowing non-member dealers to take part in its training programs at regular-member rates.
In a speech at TANA's OTR (off-the-road) Tire Conference Feb. 20, President Jim Shook said TANA also planned to make its training programs available to all other industry associations.
The ITRA's new lower-cost rate structure for non-members, announced Feb. 18, applies to any dealer belonging to TANA or one of the various state or regional tire dealer groups.
ITRA President Randy Drake said the association's board of directors decided in January to eliminate the difference between member and non-member rates as a means of working with other tire groups to address matters of mutual concern.
``The ITRA board of directors came to the conclusion,'' Mr. Drake said, ``that one of our most important goals is to provide training that would improve the existing work force as well as attract young people to careers in the tire industry.''
The ITRA also received support for expanded training from participants of its commercial tire service program, many of whom ``asked us to develop a training program for passenger and light truck tires,'' Mr. Bozarth said.
In addition, at last year's ITRA convention in Louisville, Ky., ITRA officials met with state association executives, who were asked to survey their members to determine whether passenger and light truck tire training was needed. The findings showed there was a need, Mr. Bozarth said.
The idea of expanding into passenger and LT tire training arose four years ago at an ITRA board meeting, Mr. Drake said. At the time, ``we didn't see anyone else addressing the issues,'' he said.
To date, Mr. Drake said, the association's Commercial Tire Service Training and Certification Program (CTS) has provided training for nearly 1,400 technicians and instructors, and distributed more than 1,800 training manuals.
Among the ITRA training services offered under the new single-rate schedule are:
The regional CTS program;
The association's ``Train-the-Trainer'' program for preparing instructors to conduct regional CTS sessions;
A new ``CTS Managers'' program, scheduled for an April introduction, which addresses such issues as human resources, team building, worker incentive programs, tire wear conditions analysis and overall tire service management; plus,
The new ``Training and Certification for Passenger and Light Truck Tire Service and Undercar Analysis'' program.
The new program will be developed with the help of ASE-certified automotive technician Bruce Specht, who recently joined the ITRA's administrative staff. He teaches at the high school and junior college level and has more than 27 years of experience in the tire industry.
Mr. Specht also will assist in organizing school-to-work programs to bring more young people into the tire service business, the association said.