ATLANTA — Genuine Parts Co. has launched a nationwide apprenticeship program to help its NAPA AutoCare Centers groom new technicians.
The paid apprenticeship is designed to last 18 to 24 months on average and includes online, classroom and hands-on training under the guidance of a mentor, as well as a requirement to attain three ASE certifications.
"The reason behind the apprenticeship — frankly it's been no secret — is that for shops in our industry to find a technician in general has been a struggle, to say the least," Joe Procyk, NAPA program development specialist, said.
The apprenticeship program format was the brainchild of Pete McNeil, owner of McNeil's Auto Care, a NAPA AutoCare center in Sandy, Utah, and his master technician, Jake Sorensen, a 2019 ASE Technician of the Year recipient.
Faced with the same struggle as many other auto repair facilities of finding and hiring quality technicians, Messrs. McNeil and Sorensen developed a program to train a new generation of automotive technicians in their shop.
"They developed an apprenticeship program that had tremendous success. They had put three individuals through and the results have been astounding. They have an individual who is setting new efficiency records.
"They have another individual who graduated from it who is running all of their towing facilities. The program has been proven to produce quality technicians," Mr. Procyk said.
"So what we did at NAPA AutoCare is we worked with Jake and Pete directly to take the basis of their program and then grow that and offer it on a national basis."
The NAPA program is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor so at the successful completion, the apprentice will be recognized as an automotive technician journeyman, he said.
NAPA introduced the apprenticeship program last October and so far has enrolled 346 apprentices. There are more than 16,000 NAPA AutoCare Centers in the U.S.