The G3 tuition assistance program is connected to educational pathways that are based on steps. You earn a certification – check. You earn another certification – check. A few more classes and you have your associate degree. The workplace is similar in that you can learn skills and understand a subject, then you can advance the career ladder and work your way up. It’s amazing what you can do if you just take things one step at a time.
Kevin Sheffield at Lynchburg Nissan took his first step with the business 35 years ago as an express technician, handling the basic inspections, oil changes and tire rotations a dealership may encounter. But today, after three decades of climbing the ladder, he’s the fixed operations director over four stores and 50 employees.
Like other G3 Business Ambassadors we spoke to, Lynchburg Nissan is facing hiring challenges. Between not finding enough skilled, young workers interested in a skilled trades career and the economic climate, it’s been hard to fill positions. And in Sheffield’s case, he’s looking for people who can work both in and out of the shop.
“I’m filling positions for everything: cashiers, service writers, express technicians, main shop technicians, parts personnel, drivers, car washers, it goes on and on,” he said.
When it comes to skills and talents you can earn at your local community college, there are a number of automotive repair and diagnosis training programs available.
“What I do at my store is bring people in at the express technician level so they can learn the ins and outs of the shop and what we do every day, then they’ll advance to shadowing a main shop technician and go from there,” said Sheffield. “Then our dealership provides ongoing training. All of our web courses are free for our technicians, and we’ll also send them for training in D.C. for more specialized things, like electrical, engines or transmissions.”
Community colleges can help provide a mix of hard and soft skills but there is also a fair amount of knowledge earned on the job, too. And while there are other vocational schools out there – UTI, Nascar Technical Institute – you’ll spend thousands on training. Instead, consider training for little or nothing out of your pocket at a community college or with an employer.
Do you have a knack for cars and trucks? You don’t have to know all the parts and pieces on day one, but what Sheffield and other employers ARE looking for on day one is passion.
“You have to want to do it. You need to feel it in your heart” added Sheffield. “If someone is curious and interested, that’s the kind of person who wants to learn and that’s the kind of person I want.”
Lynchburg Nissan is a supporter of Central Virginia Community College and the statewide G3 Business Ambassador program. If you think you’re a fit for a role at Lynchburg Nissan, visit its website to learn more.