AIRDRIE, Alberta (May 6, 2014) — Cam Clark knows he can recruit veteran service repair technicians from outside to work in his Airdrie Ford dealership.
But he can never be sure what work habits — bad or good— they might bring with them.
“We're in a rural-type community and techs are not always available, particularly young techs,” Mr. Clark said “We can always pay more and get a tech from a Chrysler or GM store, but there's a reason they're out there looking. Selfishly, we'd rather have them drink the Ford Kool-Aid.”
What Mr. Clark did to solve the problem has helped not only his western Canada dealership, but also the youth of Airdrie, a bedroom community of about 40,000 people north of Calgary. The booming region is dominated by ranching, agriculture and the energy industry.
About 15 years ago, Mr. Clark reached an agreement with the regional school district, Rocky View Schools, to host an academy for automotive technicians inside his auto dealership. About 40 students in grades 10, 11 and 12 from three area high schools attend the academy every weekday to learn all aspects of auto repair.