LINCOLN TECH AND GNYADA: Staffing Dealerships with Top-Trained Techs for More than a Decade
The CAET is the proud hub for automotive education in metro New York. A key piece of that hub is Lincoln Technical Institute. LTI Whitestone opened its doors at the Center on June 14, 2006, during the facility’s first year of operation. Ever since, the building’s south wing has housed LTI’s 13-month, industry-leading auto tech training program, as well as serving as their New York headquarters. The ongoing goal of GNYADA’s relationship with LTI is creating an employment pipeline that places qualified graduates in jobs at greater New York dealerships. “Our focus, once students begin, is to get them trained and get them placed,” says Campus President Jim Morrissey. “We call it ‘G&E’ — Graduation and Employment.” Regarding the value of Lincoln Tech’s decade-long relationship with GNYADA, LTI’s Director of Education, Herman Dawkins, says, “We want to know what dealers are looking for, so we can train our students to meet those requirements. We make certain that our standards meet their standards.” Establishing Early Relationships When dealers are seeking to recruit the next generation of top automotive technicians, they don’t have to look far. The Center is a regular meeting spot for GNYADA’s Board and the location of numerous classes attended by dealership management. Visiting Lincoln Tech is as easy as walking next door. “That’s a major item we tell applicants about when they’re taking the tour,” adds Morrissey. “GNYADA Board Members like Gary Schimmerling and Nick Toomey have been here quite a number of times. They stop in and get to know to our students. You can’t put a price tag on that.” According to Dawkins, LTI’s students are every bit as eager to go to work in area dealerships, as dealers are to employ them. “Presenting students with the likelihood of working for a dealership makes Lincoln Tech more appealing to them.” He adds, “What GNYADA has done for our veteran students has been amazing, providing scholarships to make sure they continue their education and find success in the automotive industry.” Dawkins credits Lincoln Tech’s Early Student Engagement (ESE) program to the school’s collaboration with GNYADA’s dealer members. The program teaches the importance of nontechnical or “soft” skills like time- management, leadership traits, and critical thinking. “These graduates are professionals, they’re courteous and they respect the business,” says Babylon Honda Dealer Principal, Gary Schimmerling, who currently has for LTI-trained technicians working for him. “They understand where we need to be, and they want to work for a dealership that’s going to move and progress.” Shared Commitments and Goals This collaboration has payed huge dividends for local dealers, Lincoln Tech, and the students themselves. “Our first graduates from the class of 2007 are now earning up to $70,000 a year,” says Kathryn Clymer, LTI’s Director of Career Services. GNYADA dealerships — led by Penn Toyota, Rallye BMW, and Acura of Westchester — currently represent the top twenty employers of Lincoln Tech grads.
The most important priority shared by GNYADA and LTI is the pursuit of educational excellence. Through this alliance, Lincoln Tech has been working closely with UFT Career and Technical Education Schools over the past year, and has also begun training instructors to achieve ASE certifications. The end result of this commitment is a generation of highly skilled workers, dedicated to keeping dealerships functioning in high-gear. “Cars are becoming more and more technically advanced, and these men and women are coming in already understanding the technology,” says Schimmerling. “To me, they’re the new class of dealership leaders.”
Acura of Westchester. Left to right: Service Tech, Glenn Valdez (LTI class of ’08); Service Manager, Johnny Lee.
Babylon Honda. Left to right: Service Tech, Justin Creegan (LTI class of ’14); Dealer Principal, Gary Schimmerling; Service Tech, Armell Hunter (LTI class of ’16).