Elkhart Institute to Address RV Technician Shortage

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(Image courtesy of the RVIA) (Image courtesy of the RVIA)
ELKHART -

The Virginia-based Recreational Vehicle Industry Association has created a new foundation, the RV Technical Institute, which will be located in Elkhart. The association says the $10 million investment will include a new headquarters and training facility, which aims to address the shortage of trained technicians in the RV industry and to implement metrics to track the RV customer experience.

The RVIA says locating the institute in Elkhart will give technicians the opportunity for practical, hands-on training from manufacturers and suppliers. The RVTI will feature a comprehensive repair event cycle time reduction initiative and will include an aggressive recruitment campaign to attract new technicians.

"In building the plan, we were determined to end nearly three decades of partially-funded half measures to solve one of the industry’s biggest service challenges," said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the RVIA. "We worked closely with representatives from all key industry stakeholder groups and conducted over six months of thorough data-driven planning to arrive at this point. The strategy calls for an unprecedented investment not just in tech recruitment and training, but in repair event cycle time reduction initiatives beyond technicians."

The RVIA says the process of building a curriculum for the institute has already begun. The technicians, according to the organization, will attend a tech "boot camp" at the RVTI, then will be placed at partnering RV dealerships and service facilities throughout the country. The RVTI will also provide training and accreditation for existing RV technicians.

The RVTI training center will be set up with an initial $10 million seed fund with the RVIA providing the initial $5 million investment. Go RVing, the national consumer outreach campaign for the RV industry, along with the RV Dealers Association will provide an investment match.

The RVIA leadership will form a task force to help secure a location for the RVTI and form a search committee to find an executive director for the institute.

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