RESTON, Va.-The Tire Association of North America has announced a campaign to encourage the certification of all technicians who work on passenger and light truck tires.
``Today more than ever, the public is interested in and concerned about safety,'' said TANA President Nick Hodel. ``Only properly trained and certified employees should work on our customers' tires. TANA's certification program sets standards, encourages professionalism and helps the industry train its workforce.''
TANA said more than 1,000 copies of its certification program have been used by tire dealerships. Pomp's Tire Service Inc. of Green Bay, Wis., is using TANA's certification program to train and certify tire technicians at all 47 of its stores. Big O Tires Inc. of Englewood, Colo., plans to use the program to train technicians in as many as 500 of its franchised locations nationwide, the association said.
In an effort to train future automotive service technicians, the association said it is expanding the marketing of its certification program to high school and college students. TANA said it has contacted thousands of trade schools with the help of the Career College Association (CCA), the largest association of trade and professional schools.
Many trade schools have adopted the TANA program as part of their permanent curriculum, TANA said. For example, the Community College of Southern Nevada, a Las Vegas-based trade and technical school, plans to train 170 automotive service students annually using the TANA certification program.
The participation of this one school alone could result in thousands of TANA trained and certified technicians entering the workforce in the coming decade, the association said.
TANA said it plans to work with hundreds of other trade and professional schools in the coming years, and the association expects participation in its training and certification programs to grow significantly.
``We are conducting a multi-year, all-industry effort to certify as many tire technicians as possible,'' Mr. Hodel said. ``This is a long-term plan.''
To become TANA certified, individuals follow a two-step process:
First, the technician studies and learns the contents of a 100-page book or a CD-ROM. The material in the book and CD-ROM is identical, allowing students to choose either a book or a computer as their preferred medium for learning. The material reviews tire and wheel terminology, tire service, wheel assembly balancing and radial tire repair. The training takes the average person three hours to review.
Second, the technician takes the test under supervision and immediately mails it to TANA. If the technician passes, that person is certified, and he or she receives a patch and a certificate from TANA.
Also, participating businesses may obtain point-of-sale materials promoting the fact that they employ TANA-certified technicians.
``This effort to certify tire technicians is critical,'' Mr. Hodel said. ``Occasionally I hear tire dealers ask: `What can I do to help the industry?' One answer is to certify their tire technicians.''
Mr. Hodel said the association is publishing a ``Tire Industry Training Guide.'' The guide lists all TANA training programs and is being sent to more than 30,000 professionals in the tire industry.