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I-CAR launches early career technician program: I-CAR Academy

The educational program includes an entry-level collision repair curriculum for both career and technical schools and collision repair centers

Hoffman Estates, Ill.—I-CAR has launched I-CAR Academy, a comprehensive educational program that includes an entry-level collision repair curriculum for both career and technical schools and collision repair centers. Now in its 45th year of serving the automotive collision repair industry, I-CAR provides educational programming, technical information and services, and talent crisis solutions for the industry and its related value chain.

I-CAR Academy is the first industry-neutral, comprehensive early career program designed specifically to attract, train, and retain technicians, and recognize the schools and repair centers training new entrants.

Available to schools now for the 2024-2025 academic year, I-CAR Academy will ultimately replace the existing education edition curriculum (PDP-EE). A similar curriculum will be available to shops in August with additional tools tailored to improve shop culture and enhance the leadership and mentorship experiences.

I-CAR Academy is designed to kickstart a technician’s education journey, providing an engaging, solid foundation to launch into I-CAR Professional level (ProLevel) curriculum and Platinum Technician certification, along with OEM and supplier certified programs. For shops, additional training and best practices for effective mentoring, which is key to technician development and progression, and culture best practices for shop leaders, which aids in retention, will be available.

“For over 45 years, I-CAR has been collaborating with the automotive collision repair industry to set the training standard, provide education programming that meets modern accepted standards, and credential technicians and shops who commit to staying current as technology and repair methods evolve,” said I-CAR CEO and President John Van Alstyne. “I-CAR Academy is the next evolution in our service to the industry – it is clear that we must adopt a cutting-edge standard curriculum that appeals to, and engages, new technicians because, whether they start in a school or a shop, we need them to be properly prepared to succeed on day one and stay in our industry for a career.”

I-CAR Academy takes a modern approach to education, integrating consumable online knowledge with hands-on skills training in a gamified environment, awarding badges for achieved competencies. Looking ahead, schools and shops who offer and complete specified levels of the program will be eligible to earn recognition as an I-CAR Academy site, a designation that will enhance their appeal to new technicians seeking to start their career.

I-CAR Academy curriculum, developed through extensive research and development, industry participation and feedback, and aligned with the I-CAR’s Automotive Collision Repair Industry Knowledge & Skills Protocol, ensures consistency among entry-level technicians. It can also help enhance productivity by giving employers a clear understanding of new technicians’ competencies and ability to perform complete, safe and quality repairs.

The curriculum provides collision repair fundamentals such as safety and tool skills, and foundational knowledge for entry level roles including Estimator/Repair Planner, Non-Structural, Structural, and Refinish Technician. Five badged learning areas are available now: Collision Repair Fundamentals; Disassembly and Reassembly; Plastic Repair; Aluminum and Steel Small Dent Removal; and Preparation for Refinishing with Spanish-language and extended courses available later this year.

“I-CAR Academy is a game-changer for the automotive collision repair industry and the second tangible achievement of our Talent Programming initiative, following the launch of last year’s Collision Careers talent attraction platform,” said Dara Goroff, I-CAR Vice President of Planning and Industry Talent Programming. “By offering the industry both attraction and entry-level relevant training programs, we are partnering with schools and repair centers to increase the number of new technicians and better prepare them for the exciting real world of collision repair.”

Schools and shops interested in the I-CAR Academy program can learn more here

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