Icahn Automotive Group has announced its new “Race to 2026” program this month.
The program is designed to invest in and support promising future automotive technicians, as they transition from the classroom to the service bay. Icahn intends to motivate more men and women to pursue viable careers in skilled trades by forging partnerships with technical training schools that offer scholarships. It is offering scholarships, tuition reimbursement and apprentice programs as well. Additionally, Icahn aims to create opportunities for internship programs, job placement and continuing education.
Icahn Enterprises’ automotive business segment is no stranger to investing in companies that have vested interest in promoting the skilled trades and supporting the well-trained professionals who help keep vehicles in safe, reliable condition every day. Federal-Mogul Motorparts, Icahn’s automotive company, developed and launched Garage Gurus in 2015. This first-of-its-kind technical educational platform provided on-site, online and on-demand training and relevant support to technicians, service writers, shop owners and other industry professionals.
“Icahn Automotive is stepping forward to invest in the future of our businesses and our industry by helping promising technicians develop the skills necessary to be successful,” says Icahn Automotive Group CEO Dan Ninivaggi. “This industry offers young people from all backgrounds the opportunity for attractive, challenging and rewarding careers. We want to be a catalyst for changing the way the automotive service industry connects with, trains and supports tomorrow’s professional technicians.”
Icahn Automotive says it has a wide array of industry-leading opportunities and career paths to offer. Under its guidance, technicians begin with basic maintenance work and then progress to more complex repairs, or even move on to running a company-owned store, owning and operating a franchised business, or serving in a corporate leadership role. Icahn offers several benefits to technicians who join its automotive business, such as tuition assistance, an apprenticeship program and company-sponsored certifications.
The demand for technicians in the automotive repair industry is likely to increase over the next few years. Additionally, several positions open up every year as a batch of technicians retire. Although the demand is on par with other fields, technical training and related career assistance for those interested in the skilled trades has not kept pace, says Icahn.
“We’re at an inflection point in the automotive industry. We’re facing a technician shortage at a time when demand has never been higher,” says Brian Kaner, President of Service for Icahn Automotive Group and Pep Boys. “Over the past several decades, vehicles have become highly computerized while we allowed the disinvestment in technical education and steered a whole generation toward four-year degrees and crippling student debt. Now, the need for service is increasing as people keep their cars longer and fleet populations grow, and the national conversation about the skilled trades is peaking as parents and students realize that technical training is again, as it always has been, an excellent first step to a successful career.”
Icahn launched the “Race to 2026” program at the Universal Technical Institute’s (UTI) NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C., post then 2019 Daytona 500 event. An instructional car with an iconic ’26 as the its number was showcased for the occasion. Icahn opened two branded classrooms that feature the latest educational resources and inspiring messages such as “Find the tools you need,” “Find your own path” and “Find out how far you can go.” The company currently has plans to establish Icahn Automotive-sponsored learning facilities at Alfred State College of Technology, and UTI and Lincoln Tech locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona.