Ford is expanding the curriculum and adding locations to its training program designed to add more specially trained automotive technicians to a fast-growing field that now includes electric vehicles, the OEM announced on June 6.
The initiative, known as Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET), is a collaboration between Ford Motor Company, Ford, and Lincoln dealers and select community colleges and technical schools. The program provides Ford and Lincoln dealerships and their customers with technicians highly trained in Ford service technologies and diagnostic & repair methods, the announcement said.
Three new ASSET programs are starting this year at the following community colleges:
- Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona
- Wake Technical College, Raleigh, North Carolina
- Gwinnett Technical College, Lawrenceville, Georgia
Also, ASSET will be incorporating Ford EV curriculum including courses on High Voltage Systems Safety, Hybrid Vehicle Components and Operation, Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) Components and Operation, and an introduction to High Voltage Battery Service, as well as a Ford instructor-led class on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Operation and Diagnosis.
Ford has provided 25 PHEV or BEV vehicles to ASSET locations, so students receive hands-on training, according to the news release.
“The ASSET program puts these kids in in the classroom and then in the stall applying it. To me, getting those two at the same time is going to give a dealer better technician retention and the student a better understanding of the information,” says Josh Fichter, general manager, Five Star Ford in North Richland Hills, Texas. “It also breeds loyalty because if you’re not proactively growing your own technicians right now, you’re going to be in a world of hurt.”
Ford is also adding a Mobile Service Technician Certification to the ASSET curriculum. This program is a pathway for students that may be sponsored at one of the 300+ dealers in the U.S. currently operating Mobile Service Fleets. The Mobile Service Technician Certification pathway enhances students Maintenance and Light Repair aptitudes early in the program timeline, on their way to becoming more comfortable with larger repairs, working to become an A-level technician and ASSET graduate, Ford said.
“My experience with ASSET been great,” says Josh Lilley, an ASSET student at Five Star Ford in Dallas, Texas. “As far back as I can remember, I’ve been tinkering on my dad’s first-generation Bronco. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone pursuing an automotive career at the dealership. It’s such a great program, especially if you don’t know anything, they’ll sit you down and help you grow those skills. I learned a lot more than I ever thought I would need or know.”
Over a two-year period, an ASSET student can earn up to 100% of Ford’s Service Technician Specialty Training (STST) credentials, earn an associate degree in Automotive Technology, and have one-year of work experience at a Ford or Lincoln dealership. ASSET graduates also can achieve Ford's High Voltage Systems Certification, in addition to the 12 certifications the program already offers.
Since 1985, more than 12,000 students have graduated from the ASSET program with 1,800 Ford and Lincoln dealers participating as sponsors. The ASSET program is one of three post-secondary Ford-sponsored automotive training programs through New Ford Tech, an initiative within the company aimed at supporting and growing a solid pool of qualified automotive repair technicians to help meet increasing demand.