Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., has formed a new educational partnership with Universal Technical Institute (UTI), a national private career college. Toyota Professional Collision Training (TPCT), a program between the two organizations, is designed to recruit, train, and develop entry-level collision repair technicians exclusively for selected Toyota and Lexus dealerships.

Meeting the growing demand for entry-level collision repair technicians is an ongoing challenge as the number of vehicles on America's highways continues to increase. TPCT will help meet this growing need by preparing graduates to work in select Toyota Certified Collision Centers (TCCC).

"Toyota is very excited about the new educational partnership with UTI and the benefits the TPCT program will provide our TCCC shops," said Roger Foss, national dealer development manager, Toyota Customer Services. "UTI has a well-earned reputation as a leader in the recruitment, training and placement of collision repair specialists and will help Toyota provide our dealers with the qualified technicians necessary for excellent collision repair service."

Toyota worked closely with UTI to develop and implement the TPCT guidelines and graduation requirements. Additionally, Toyota will provide TPCT students with Toyota workbooks and pay the cost of their Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) testing fees.

Beginning November 26, TPCT recruits will be trained at the Collision Repair and Refinish Technology facility on UTI's campus in Houston, Texas. The program will be staffed by ASE-certified instructors and include an Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair-based (I-CAR) curriculum.

Students of TPCT must complete an intensive 51-week (1,530 hours) training program in general and Toyota-specific collision repair and paint finish techniques, including structural and non-structural body repair, color matching, and advance painting. UTI placement personnel will work closely with TCCC shops to facilitate the hiring and placement of program graduates.

TCCC shops also will provide tool scholarships to each hired graduate. UTI was founded in 1965 in Phoenix, Arizona, and is recognized as one of the top technical education institutions in the country. UTI has graduated more than 65,000 students and offers accelerated career-specific training in automotive, diesel, collision repair, air conditioning/refrigeration/heating, motorcycle, marine and personal watercraft. UTI campuses are located in Phoenix, Ariz.; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Glendale Heights, Ill., and Houston, Texas.