NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The International Tire and Rubber Association intends to build on the success of its training programs, developing new ones and continuing to expand its educational outreach. The association has certified 1,310 commercial tire technicians and 350 instructors in the past 14 months, Executive Director Marvin Bozarth told attendees during the general session of the ITRA's World Expo, held June 9-12 in Nashville.
"We feel very happy about it," Mr. Bozarth said. "We have yet to have a person go through a training program who didn't appreciate it."
At the request of students who have enrolled in its programs, the ITRA is developing passenger, light truck tire and undercar analysis training programs, he said.
The association has met with more than 30 technical and vocational schools about offering the program, which the group expects will be successful in helping to recruit qualified workers for tire dealerships.
ITRA Marketing Director Rita Shourds, Training Director Kevin Rohlwing and Bruce Specht, director of tire service and undercar analysis, are all involved in developing the new training programs, Mr. Bozarth said.
The group expects to offer certification for passenger and light truck tire service technicians in about a year, according to Mr. Bozarth.
Through its Educational Foundation, the ITRA also plans to release a promotional video on the tire industry to attract youth, Mr. Bozarth said.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with telling young people that the tire industry is a viable industry," he said.
Mr. Bozarth urged dealers to take advantage of ITRA programs because a program of ongoing, documented training can lessen liability claims.
ITRA President Randy Drake noted that recent consolidations in the retreading industry are a major reason members need the association.
"Change is creating anxiety in every tire dealer," Mr. Drake said. "Keeping our members abreast of change is what the ITRA is all about."