Schnepper: Never too late for training

In the mid-1970s when I graduated from high school, young people who wanted to go into a profession went to college. Those who wanted to go into a trade didn’t need college. They just needed to get a job and learn the skills.

In the Detroit Metro area, going to work for one of the automakers was a great choice. You could start working the line and make good money, expect a nice pension and get into a skilled-trade program. And when we started our own auto service shops and body shops with the knowledge we’d acquired, if we had cars in the shop, we figured we were doing something right. Our understanding then was that if we were busy, we were making money.

Thank goodness for ASA! Some of the association’s leaders back in the early ’80s realized that shop owners knew how to repair things and were good at it, but they were not necessarily good business people. Owners needed education on how to run a business, how to understand their numbers and how to turn a profit. ASA strived to be more than just an association that provided a few benefits; it wanted to provide a lifelong benefit. So the Automotive Management Institute (AMi) was founded.

Today, my son Daniel and I have our Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) accreditation. Not only did we see the value of these classes, but, over the years, the paint companies began seeing their value, too. They began partnering with AMi to provide class credits toward the AAM accreditation.

Jeff Peevy, president of AMi and a longtime collision industry trainer, once showed me a graph that I’ve always remembered. It measured people’s acceptance of training by age and showed that the older we get, the less willing we are to put time into training.

The problem with that sort of thinking is that aging does not prevent cars, or software or our business models from changing. So there’s still a need to learn and to provide training opportunities to our staff. We’re never too old to learn new tricks. Just ask Jeff Silver, who received his AAM accreditation at NACE Automechanika.

AMi already has made many worthwhile changes to its education program and is now providing improved live classes and courses that you can complete online. As an added benefit, you can enjoy 20 percent off AMi online training as an ASA member. Please take time to check them out at