Weber State University’s technician training and education network program, which trains students to be automotive technicians for Toyota, recently received the highest level of certification the program has to offer. Toyota dealerships and students enrolled in the program have expressed enthusiasm for this major improvement.
Dalila Clarke, a student currently enrolled in the T-Ten program, said she selected WSU for its automotive program since it was highly recommended.
“(The certification) means that when I come here, I get the best training that I’m going to find anywhere else…it’s a prestigious school, so other companies come here looking for students,” Clarke said.
WSU is one of 44 schools in the nation who offer the T-Ten program. However, only six out of the 44 have been certified. The process for WSU took over three years to complete and involved repeated pilot testing and collaborating between WSU and the other five certified schools. Kevin Roner, the lead T-Ten instructor and coordinator, was the major contributor for the development of the program. He estimates he worked an additional 5,000 hours to develop the training material.
“With the knowledge (the students) drag out of this, there’s nothing they can’t handle,” Roner said. “We’ve got the tools, the cars, the equipment, the knowledge and everything you need to go along with it.”
Ryan Dawson, a graduate of the program, has been in the industry for two years. Now a Toyota line technician, he stated he is close to becoming an expert-level technician. Originally from Nevada, Dawson moved to Utah to enroll in the T-Ten curriculum. He said the program has expedited the goals he has for his career.
“There are many technicians who have been in this industry for ten plus years who haven’t even come close to (becoming an expert level technician),” Dawson said. “In two years, I should be able to (become a master diagnostic technician) whereas several technicians at our dealership, who are master diagnostic technicians, have been working their entire career (sic) to (achieve that).”
According to Roner, the nearest T-Ten school is in Farmington, N.M., and therefore WSU has a wide market of dealerships spanning Nevada, western Wyoming and southern Idaho to place the entry-level graduates. Because the program includes a paid internship with a Toyota dealership, Roner says the students already have a job by the time they graduate.
Andrew Passage is the T-Ten area manager for the program and said with the internship requirement and support from the corporate level, students in the program “have some advantage over other candidates.” According to Passage, WSU was assigned to complete the certification due to its ability to produce graduates, quality instructors such as Roner and the good market conditions in the area.
Passage said, “Passing (the) validation means that the automotive program, specifically Weber State University, has proven that they have developed and are capable of delivering automotive and Toyota curriculum at the highest level currently possible.”
Roner said the T-Ten students have potential to go all the way to the top.
Roner said, “If somebody’s got a passion for cars, loves fixing cars, loves the challenge of making it work, then this is the right place to be.”