While the pandemic has caused bumps in the road for many in the tire industry and around the world, it didn’t affect the hazards of servicing tires, which is why the Tire Industry Association has stayed committed to improving tire safety by offering training and education, Kevin Rohlwing, TIA’s senior vice president of training, said during a press conference at the 2021 SEMA Show.
Rohlwing gave credit to the association and its board for not halting training efforts over the course of the pandemic.
“Online University has been running the whole time; we did all those webinars at the beginning of the pandemic, but one thing we didn’t do, that I’m incredibly proud of, is we did stop updating our programs, and I think that’s an important point that needs to be made,” he said.
In fact, TIA’s training programs have evolved to keep up with technology changes, Rohlwing said. TIA recognized the industry was in need of more online offerings and had a whole plan to update training in 2020 and in 2021 prior to the pandemic, he said. The pandemic “really shut us down hard” because training is done out in the field; at people’s businesses, he said.
Rohlwing said this limited TIA’s ability to go in-person to businesses to film, but the association still found ways to pull together training programs safely, one of which was done by filming outside.
“We actually were able in 2020 to film an update to the basic commercial tire service program,” he said.
TIA is currently updating its Basic Automotive Tire Service Program, which will be released in 2022, he added. The commercial program is 11 years old and the automotive program 10, which is why it was time for these to be updated, he said.
Rohlwing said TIA’s 300 and 400-level certified programs are also being updated.
Closed Captioning Added to Online Training Videos
TIA is also adding closed captioning to all online training, which “kind of came as a last-minute thing,” Rohlwing said. The association has something called the TIA Online University, which is a learning management system with all training available online. Rohlwing said many members use this resource for new hire training.
Adding closed captioning to videos in the online training suite was a lot of work because with some videos lasting 10 minutes and being split up into different parts, it was crucial to make sure the closed captioning matched up perfectly with the videos, Rohlwing said.
He added that he thinks closed captioning functionality will be more effective for technicians.
“In fact, it was actually driven by some board members that have deaf and hard-of-hearing employees,” he said. “They can follow along in a workbook type thing, but it’s much more effective when you’ve got the closed captioning.”
TIA is also expanding its training beyond tire tech training and is getting into the management space, Rohlwing said. The organization has partnered with Mohr Retail’s Glen Nicholson, who is a past president of TIA and also worked for TVC in its training department, to offer a management training program.
Rohlwing said it’s a retail management training program that “teaches managers to be better leaders; conflict resolution; how do you motivate people? How do you listen? How do you manage people?” He said.
The program was piloted last year, and the response to the first program was excellent, Rohlwing said. Some commercial people went through and pointed out that the course was too retail-focused for some and didn’t apply to the business, so Rohlwing said he sat down with Glen and took a couple of days to shift it to give it more of a commercial slant.
“We’ve got a complete schedule for 2022 for retail and commercial management classes,” he said. “These classes are fantastic for commercial and retail managers to teach them how to manage people, people skills [and] conflict resolution. There are a lot of ways you can manage people, and it’s not something that we do as TIA. That’s not our area of expertise, but Glen is fantastic and does a great job.”
The program continues to receive glowing reviews and offers a lot of coaching and peer involvement, Rohlwing added.