The RV Industry Association is investing $10 million in a new training institute and a regional network to resupply the industry with much-needed technicians. The move comes as RV shipments are surging but technicians are becoming scarcer.
The RV industry is getting a new educational facility to train workers in the technical upkeep of recreational vehicles.
Earlier this month, the RV Industry Association announced plans to launch a technical institute in Elkhart, Indiana, with two goals: first, to help solve the industry’s technician shortage; and second, to improve customer service throughout the industry.
The initiative—which is being driven by a $10 million investment in the institute—comes as the industry is seeing an upswing, creating more demand for trained RV 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,” RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer said in a news release. “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.”
Other industry groups, including the RV Dealers Association, worked closely with RVIA on the initiative, which will also involve the creation of curriculum that extends to digital textbooks, video, and PowerPoint decks. The institute will hire subject matter experts and technical writers to help create the material. Additionally, the group will collaborate with regional partners to deliver training to existing and new technicians.
The move was cheered within the industry. Matt Rose, RV director for the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council, told the South Bend Tribune that the increased need for technician services is a natural consequence of the rising popularity of RVs among consumers.
“What we’ve seen in the last five to six years is RV shipments have grown year over year by double-digit percentages,” Rose said. “With more people on the road enjoying RVs, [that] in turn means more people need work done on their RVs. It all comes full circle.”
According to RVIA statistics, RV shipments have grown for eight consecutive years, with the largest surge (17.2 percent) happening last year. The industry is responsible for 150,000 jobs and nearly $8 billion in wages, RVIA says.