Subaru-U Creates Pipeline to Auto Industry with CTECS

December 29, 2021

Home>Subaru-U Creates Pipeline to Auto Industry with CTECS

Jeff LeClair of Subaru New England enrolls Bristol Technical Education Center Automotive Technology students into Subaru-U.

Nationally, automotive retailers are struggling to meet the ever-increasing demand for new technicians as their current workforce reaches retirement age. One manufacturer has developed a creative solution to this challenge by partnering with Connecticut’s technical high schools and offering a unique training opportunity.

Subaru of New England, alongside select Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified schools, formed Subaru University (Subaru-U), giving Subaru retailers the ability to grow their own technicians.

“Like the rest of industry, there is a desperate need for people…there’s not enough,” said Jeff LeClair, Subaru University Education Manager. “We are real optimistic about what we can do here.”

In 2019, LeClair partnered with the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System’s (CTECS) Automotive Technology programs to offer Subaru-U online training modules to students. The program is currently offered at seven CTECS locations, with plans to expand. Connecticut’s technical high schools are the only locations in Connecticut where Subaru-U is offered.

Enrolled Subaru-U students are provided free access to two online training modules specific to Subaru technology. CTECS instructors are also provided access to same technical information that Subaru retailers have and can utilize it to supplement their curriculum.

“For students enrolled in Subaru-U, the credentials they earn through the program are transferrable to a Subaru dealership if hired,” said Lou Camacho, consultant for CTECS’ transportation trades.

According to LeClair, in an ideal scenario, students would complete the two online modules prior to graduation. Holding these credentials would likely make the student a more valuable hire for Subaru as the retailer would employ someone with prior knowledge of Subaru systems, materials and equipment.

Additionally, some Subaru-U students are eligible for Work-based Learning (WBL) with local dealerships, affording them the opportunity to get hands-on experience prior in a real-life retail setting.

“We want to partner with dealerships that will not only hire our graduates but also participate in WBL with students under the age of 18,” said Camacho.

In combination with other automotive certifications provided by CTECS schools, such as ASE, the industry opportunities for students immediately after graduation are substantial.

Tyler Brown, a post graduate automotive technology student at Bristol Technical Education Center recently enrolled in Subaru-U.

“Until the end of this year, I’m trying to get all the things that I can to build up my resume,” he said. “I should take this opportunity.”

LaClair agreed.

“Even if you don’t have an interest in Subaru, it looks great on a resume that you’ve had manufacturer training.”

Subaru-U is not the only connection Subaru has to CTECS’ auto programs. According to Camacho, they have facilitated the donations of several items through local retailers and regularly attend Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee meetings to provide industry input into curriculum.

“It’s great to have these new and updated [donated] items,” said Rob Ellis, Bristol TEC’s Automotive Technology Department Head. “We are giving students the tools for when they go out there…let’s start showing them this stuff so wherever they go to work they are familiar with most recent technology.”

“We want to become the biggest pipeline for all auto retailers in Connecticut”, said Camacho. “We can provide high-quality, highly-certified technicians at a young age and are looking forward to developing more partnerships like these at the high school level.”

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