The MCI Academy – the first motorcoach training program to earn Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) accreditation in 2017 – is breaking more new ground with a new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) national registered Motorcoach Technician Apprenticeship Program.
Intended to promote top maintenance of motorcoaches, the program allows participating operators to offer apprenticeships to recruit new entrants into the industry and establish a career-path for technicians already on staff that has not existed before.
“Apprenticeships are available for more than a thousand occupations from electricians to precision machinists that demand high skills but not always a four-year degree,” said Scott Crawford, MCI manager of technical training, who worked with the Kentucky Division of Apprenticeship and TransPORTs, a U.S. DOL Office of Apprenticeship national industry partner, to develop and register the program. “Apprenticeships appeal to high-school graduates, veterans and others who prefer to earn while they learn without running up student debt. We’re excited to offer the program to industry operators as well as technicians employed by MCI.”
“MCI Academy’s commitment to its workforce and partner employers by offering this new national Motorcoach Technician Apprenticeship program reflects our state’s leadership in supporting innovative, industry-responsive apprenticeship program development,” said Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey. “We are proud to support MCI Academy as a new national program sponsor and look forward to many Kentuckians taking advantage of this new opportunity.”
TransPORTs provided extensive technical assistance and targeted incentive funding to help MCI create and launch its new national program. “Apprenticeship is a proven model for building a stronger, more skilled talent pipeline,” said TransPORTs Executive Director Barbara Murray. “MCI Academy can look forward to creating a future-ready generation of skilled, loyal motorcoach technicians as a result of its new national apprenticeship program.” According to US DOL, 91 percent of apprentices remain on the job long after completing the program.
The program builds on curriculum already available through MCI Academy offering a tiered structured learning path with 800 hours of online Learning Management System (LMS) courses (including 200 hours in safety courses) and weeklong training events at MCI’s Louisville, Kentucky-based National Training Center to earn Tech 3, 2 and 1 with 16 system qualification certificates including HVAC and electrical systems, coupled with on-the-job training hours.
MCI apprenticeship candidates must be working for a motorcoach industry employer participating in MCI’s apprenticeship program. Participating employers will pay their apprentices’ wages, provide the on-the-job learning (OJL) training portion of the apprenticeship program and assign a mentor to each apprentice. Participating mentors will complete an instructional orientation session and will be responsible for verifying that the apprentice has mastered the required level of expertise within the five-year program to earn Journey worker certification. Program graduates are projected to earn between $40,000-$60,000 or more based on location. Each employer will also cover travel costs to Louisville, where MCI Academy’s main training center is located. MCI Academy will provide the required related technical instruction (RTI) at no fee for MCI operators. MCI stresses that this program is available to any operator participating in MCI’s Apprenticeship Program.
Louisville’s Miller Transportation, with a 107-motorcoach fleet, 183 school buses, plus shuttle and transit buses, is one of the first participating operators to enroll a recruit into the Motorcoach Technician Apprenticeship Program. Greg Miller, director of fleet operations, explained that Matt Young, a quick service mechanic from an automobile dealership who was hired a year ago as a charter check technician, shows the “talent and character” qualifying him for apprenticeship. “It’s important to us to foster his growth, and I expect him at the completion of this program to be able to diagnose and repair any issue we see with our fleet,” said Miller.
“We see MCI Academy as an investment in the future of the changing motorcoach industry,” said Crawford. “The industry needs top trained technicians to keep fleets moving, but we also want to communicate that motorcoach technician careers are well-paying jobs with bright futures.”
For full details on the Motorcoach Technician Apprenticeship Program please email Scott.Crawford@mcicoach.com, or visit www.mciacademy.com to schedules for all other training sessions.