Officials from the automotive industry and educators from across the West gathered at Shoreline Community College to see how Toyota and its partners are aligning education and training with the needs of industry and students.
“Over the past several years, Toyota has been revamping its technician training curriculum to better meet the needs of dealers and their customers,” said Rick Lester, Technician Development Manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA. The result is now in use at Shoreline and other Toyota certified training programs across the country, called Toyota T-TEN (Toyota Technician Training and Education Network).
The goal was to develop a competency-based approach to training the technicians that go on to work in Toyota dealerships. This approach is allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of a skill or concept, rather than just counting seat-time in class.
The event at Shoreline on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, was an opportunity to showcase the new program, but not just talk about; to demonstrate it.
With help from regional high school and skills centers instructors, Shoreline’s Toyota program faculty members Kevin Roner and Jeff Cromwell created four demonstration stations to show how students move from perhaps an interest in cars to careers in automotive technology. In the crowd were officials from Puget Sound Toyota and Lexus dealers, Snap-on Tools, Hunter Engineering, Automotive YES, and automotive teachers from area high schools and skills centers.
Roner and Cromwell recently led Shoreline’s efforts to continue its certification as a Toyota T-TEN training center. In remarks before the demonstrations, Dave Zellers, Toyota USA’s Vice President Service and Parts Support, noted that Shoreline was able to complete the certification process is just half the anticipated time. “That is just remarkable,” Zellers said.
Shoreline President Cheryl Roberts said the partnership with Toyota USA and Toyota dealers is good for students, good for the industry and good for communities. “We’re honored to continue our work with Toyota,” Roberts said.
Shoreline students in the T-TEN program spend one academic quarter in class at The Professional Automotive Training Center – Dealer Training Academy at Shoreline Community College and then one quarter applying their skills at a sponsoring Toyota or Lexus dealership in the area. The students alternate back and forth between class and the dealership for two years. Graduates receive an Associate Degree from Shoreline as well as many of the Toyota-specific certifications needed to work in the dealership. Students often continue their careers at the same dealership after graduation.