Q&A with I-CAR’s Dara Goroff on New Programming Tackling the Technician Shortage

09/06/2022 by I-CAR

The story of our new talent programming initiative is just beginning, with many more developments to be announced in the months ahead. In this blog you get a chance to meet up with Dara Goroff, who was recently brought onboard by I-CAR’s leadership team to oversee this important initiative, defined by and being delivered to our industry.  Dara answers questions that help outline the basics of the plans aimed to help address the industry’s talent shortage. Check out Dara’s biography at the end of this blog to learn more.

Q:  Competition for new talent is fierce with so many skilled-trade industries understaffed. What equips I-CAR, in partnership with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), to address this critical problem?

A:   It is true that many industries are facing labor shortages. COVID-19 and the Great Resignation are behind a lot of the decline in labor force participation.  Employers across all industries are adjusting their policies and processes to become more attractive places to work.

I-CAR and CREF are unique in their approach to address the collision repair industry labor shortage; as a not-for-profit, I-CAR, and a non-profit, CREF, we are neutral partners here to help the inter-industry. We work collaboratively with all segments of the industry to help solve this problem holistically; not for the benefit of any one employer but for the sustainable benefit of the whole.

With CREF’s experience partnering with industry donors to support collision repair students and educators and I-CAR’s synergistic approach to developing and delivering educational programming, technical information, and technical services, we are uniquely positioned to help the industry solve this problem. We can effectively promote our industry as a place to find meaningful work, a true-career path, and a source of continuous skill development.

Q:  What are the key components of the talent programming initiative?

A:   With an initial focus on technicians, this multi-faceted initiative covers the successful journey of brand-new entry-level technicians into collision repairer as they start their career. It integrates solutions designed to increase the number of qualified new workers entering – and remaining – in the collision repair inter-industry:
  • Attracting talent to the collision repair industry through coordination of industrywide efforts.  I-CAR plans to ‘quarterback’ efforts of like-minded industry partners to attract more talent through enhanced industry branding and targeted campaigns. The plan increases the reach of these efforts working with program participant schools, repair facilities and other organizations.
  • Enhanced introductory educational programming for both Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools and repair facilities. Mentoring and an apprenticeship programming option for both schools and Gold Class® repair facilities will better prepare talent for entry-level success.
  • CTE school development programs to help schools use new educational programming and get better access to funding and equipment/materials. This in turn attracts more students and better prepares them for successful transition to employment.
  • Programming to onboard, develop and retain talent, with emphasis on supporting Gold Class® shops ranging from mentoring programming to a suite of shop-relevant HR training and best practices.
  • Access to Talent Pools developed from our talent attraction efforts for both collision repair facilities and CTE schools.

Q:  What is the immediate work that needs to be accomplished in 2022?

A:   Our focus for the remainder of 2022 is broken into four major categories:
  • Staffing our team and working with industry partners to ensure the initiative delivers a meaningful impact in addressing the labor shortage.
  • Executing initial attraction campaigns to draw leads to a new talent attraction website which builds awareness and excitement about collision repair career opportunities and guides interested candidates to schools and shop to begin their career journey.
  • Providing schools and shops with new, recognized industry credentials, supported by enhanced courses purpose-built specifically for new entrants into collision repair.  The credentials are based on the most-needed repair skills identified by the industry for new technicians, enabling them to become production ready, faster and to remain in the industry for the long haul.
  • Mentoring and HR Best Practices.

Q:  How soon will schools and shops – two key segments supported by our initiative – begin to benefit from the talent programming initiative?

A:   We’ve heard from industry partners that there are many jobseekers without prior collision repair work experience or education who are looking for employment in our industry. To help shops onboard and train these much-needed resources, we recently launched our first deliverable – a Learning and Development Guide for entry-level technicians.  The new guide utilizes in-house structured training with a veteran technician guiding the entry-level tech while using existing I-CAR courses bundled specifically for entry-level technicians coming into a shop.  It offers a bridge that will connect today’s current industry curriculum to I-CAR's upcoming comprehensive solution for attracting, mentoring, training, and retaining technicians.

If you would like to connect with I-CAR’s talent programming team, please e-mail them at talentprogramming@i-car.com.


About Dara Goroff

Dara Goroff

In all of her diverse work experiences, Dara Goroff has followed her love of technology and passions for product management and professional development. Most relevant to her new role in executing I-CAR’s talent programming initiative, she led product teams at Solera Global Holdings and Repairify focused on creating solutions for the collision repair inter-industry and also led professional development departments at GoDaddy and Motorola, where she was responsible for the content and delivery of programs focused on onboarding, training, retaining, and advancing employees.