The Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) is going high-tech with its automotive technician training, using a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.

AYES is developing an on-line portal through which it will provide its curriculum for training service technicians. The new Web-based process will enable AYES to broaden its reach to provide training to all U.S. new-car and truck dealerships, more community colleges and high schools.

The AYES consortium is developing a new national automotive curriculum by combining three of the leading curriculums into one learning process.

Emily DeRocca, assistant secretary of Labor, presented a grant check to Larry Cummings, president of AYES, and Gerd Klauss, chairman of AYES and president and CEO Volkswagen of America.

Tom Purves, chairman and CEO BMW US Holding Corp. and incoming chairman of AYES, tells Ward's that his goal for the upcoming year is “to raise and enhance the awareness of the AYES program to educators and to dealers nationwide.”

He says the organization's training efforts have gained momentum in addressing a national shortage of qualified automotive technicians.

“The grant from the federal government gives us a fantastic opportunity to widen the program by going on-line with the education program and going way beyond the schools we are actually already in,” he says.

AYES is a nine-year old partnership of 14 automotive manufacturers and the National Automobile Dealers Assn., state automotive trade associations and state departments of education and labor.

More than 5,000 dealers have supported the initiative by offering mentor-based internships and employment opportunities to AYES students.