May 14, 2021 - 8:01 am
Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow, also known as FIT, created the Standards of Excellence Academy to provide underemployed individuals with training, education and certifications so they can get higher-paying jobs. In partnership with Findlay Automotive, Standards of Excellence has developed an automotive technician training program.
Standards of Excellence Academy just had its first class complete the program. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, this first class had only four students. A graduation ceremony was held with Findlay Automotive Chief Financial Officer Tyler Corder as the keynote speaker.
In his remarks, Corder said: “A problem in the auto industry is the shortage of trained automotive service technicians. (Findlay) recently created this vocational training program in partnership with the Standards of Excellence Academy at the Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow to address the problem. We just graduated our inaugural class of students. All of the graduates have now secured job offers at Findlay dealerships.”
The Standards of Excellence Academy offers students a gateway to career advancement in jobs and occupations that are in demand. The academy is a nonprofit school established in 2014 by founder and CEO Janet Blumen.
The organization, as a subsidiary of the Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow, provides vocational education leading to an industry-recognized credential. The academy itself is accredited by the Nevada Commission on Post-Secondary Education.
Findlay Volkswagen’s John Gonzalez worked alongside these graduates. Gonzales is passionate about vocational training and has been a longtime mentor for people seeking a better future.
“The great thing about this program is that it appeals to people of all ages, especially people in their mid- to late 20s,” he said.
This program was created to help ensure that those who may not be doing well or have the potential to become lost remain part of the community.
“This program provides an interesting way to keep track of these people. Once they graduate high school and don’t know where they should go, we can keep track of them and help give them options,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a fantastic program because we can understand who they are, and they know what we are looking for; they visit our stores, get taught valuable skills and understand the Findlay work ethic.”
Both Findlay and the academy understand that a person must demonstrate skill mastery by passing a certification test upon completion of an industry-recognized certification course. That is precisely the education that someone entering the academy can look forward to. All classes lead to industry-recognized credentials.
Gonzalez is optimistic for the future of this partnership, stating, “I’m really excited that our next class will have eight. There is no better place to work than Findlay Auto Group. I’ve been here since ’06, and it’s always changing and something new every day. I love it.”
“I’ll be working out at Findlay Toyota,” graduate Bill Buther said. “I’m grateful for this program because I’ve met really amazing people. I’m excited about my future.”
“We’re extremely grateful to the board and the staff of the Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow for helping us create this program,” Corder said. “They worked closely with our service professionals to create a program that teaches the actual skills that will help our graduates be successful in the workforce.”
To learn more about Foundation of an Independent Tomorrow, visit lasvegasfit.org. To learn more about Standards of Excellence Academy, visit standardsofexcellencelv.org.
About the dealer
Findlay Automotive Group began with one location more than 60 years ago. The group now includes 32 dealerships in Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, California and Arizona. Learn more at www.findlayauto.com.