11/30/2020 by Val D'Anna
Of all of I-CAR’s recent achievements, the Industry Knowledge and Skill Protocol stands apart as our master work of the past decade. Creating a blueprint for the industry, with knowledge and skills broken down in detail for eight key technician roles, is a herculean task that is ever-evolving. It will need to be maintained with updates as long as the industry continues to evolve and change. Much more than a project, the Protocol is an ongoing commitment I-CAR has made to the inter-industry. There simply is no one else so well positioned to take it on as I-CAR.
Now, less than two years after the Protocol’s release, I-CAR has introduced a major enhancement – the Course Matrix. This online resource matches up the training, both from I-CAR and our Alliance Partners, needed to develop each skill and knowledge area identified in the Protocol. Interactive and searchable, the new Course Matrix, located on our website, is set up with filters for role, ProLevel and Alliance Partner training. CourseMatrix_OnTablet.png
“The level and speed of innovation within the automotive industry is so much faster than it used to be,” says I-CAR’s Dave Parzen, Director of Protocols, Licensing and Quality Management. “We need to be able to adapt on the fly. This model enables us to do this. The user can come to our website for real-time information.”
For example, a refinish technician, working towards ProLevel 2 requirements to achieve Platinum recognition, would select the role and ProLevel filters, and within seconds, would be able to view the five required I-CAR courses plus course options offered by Alliance Partners. That technician could also use the Alliance Partner filter to view courses just offered by 3M, PPG or any other particular Partner. 
Shop and insurance training managers are expected to be the heaviest users, Parzen says, but the mobile-friendly Matrix can be a useful tool for technicians too. If they want to become more involved in their development and training, the Matrix is a great, easy-to-use resource. The Matrix would allow you to answer questions such as: what Alliance courses are available that support my learning goals or what training would I need to move from refinish to non-structural or another new role? 
Parzen explains that the Matrix could not have been developed without the Protocol. “We had to start at a higher level. The question the industry needs answered is not ‘what class do I take, but what do I need to know to perform a quality repair…what are the necessary knowledge and skill areas?’ The Protocol was not created to support curriculum,” Parzen points out. “It’s actually the other way around. Curriculum is designed to support the Protocol, and that’s really how it should be.”
“We don’t build a course and then see where it fits,” Parzen said. With the Protocol in place, I-CAR is able to develop purpose built courses that fit into the Protocol. 
While the Protocol came about at the inter-industry’s urging, its value to the overall industry has become much more tangible with the Matrix. When I-CAR released the Protocol, the individual working in collision repair may have reacted “what do I do with this?” Parzen says. “Identifying knowledge and skills doesn’t tell you what training is needed for Platinum or Gold Class recognition. The Matrix maps the courses you need to take in core roles. It also is a road map (for I-CAR) for what courses need to be developed in the future.”
Parzen says the main objectives for the Matrix have been satisfied: to give users an easy, fast way to find accurate, real-time training information. But that doesn’t mean work on the Matrix is complete. Parzen and his team are analyzing suggestions from users in pilot tests. “We already have ideas for future enhancements,” he says. 
Click this icon in the top menu bar on I-CAR’s website home page to access both
the Industry Protocol and our new Course Matrix, where you can find training  options “mapped” to eight key roles: estimator, refinish technician, non-structural technician, structural technician, electrical/diagnostics technician, mechanical technician, production management and auto physical damage appraiser.