RV training facility coming to Elkhart
ELKHART, Ind. -- A shortage of qualified workers is hampering growth so now the RV industry is creating its own training facility to get more people up to speed.
This $10 million investment by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association will create a first-of-its-kind training center for people who want to or are already RV service technicians. RV companies in Elkhart County said they like this plan because it could address the ongoing worker shortage.
For seven years Connie Spratt has worked as an RV service technician. She's one of four technicians at Nexus RV in Elkhart.
"We do every phase of anything they need in the RV, anything from generators to plumbing to electrical," said Spratt.
"Certified handyman of fixing everything that can be wrong with an rv," said Steven Jacobs. Jacobs is the vice president of Nexus RV.
Jacobs says his company needs more service technicians.
"At least eight more," said Jacobs.
Other RV companies do too.
"There's a huge shortage throughout the entire United States of certified techs, in some cases during the summer, it can be upwards of two months before you can get your unit in," said Jacobs.
"Some customers we have to send to different service centers because we just don't have enough time and enough people," said Spratt.
Jacobs says service techs require multiple certifications, but there isn't anywhere for people interested in becoming a tech to receive training. He says that forces RV companies to become responsible for a process that can be expensive and time consuming.
But that could soon change with the help of a new $10 million training facility, named the RV Technical Institute. RVIA recently announced the plans. They say the Institute could be established within the next year.
"It's in the heart of the RV industry, so you have manufacturers, you have suppliers who can provide expertise to these people who are going to be fixing rv's in the future," said Mark Wald.
Wald says the plan is in its early stages but the institute would be open to current and new techs.
"We're envisioning a situation where they can come in for maybe three weeks, maybe it's six weeks, and then they're able to then be placed at an RV service center anywhere in the country," said Wald.
It's an idea local RVcompanies like Nexus think could solve an industry wide problem.
"More training the better because you can never learn enough about this because there's more learning everyday," said Spratt. '
RVIA has not decided where this school will be built, but they say it will most likely build a new building somewhere in the county. They also hope to bring in 5,000 trainees over the next five years, so there's a potential economic impact for Elkhart County and Michiana as well.