With Memorial Day 2015 approaching, the Audi Veterans To Technicians program is closing in on its 200th hire since the program began less than two years ago.
Participating Audi dealers in the United States and the veterans themselves are benefiting immensely from the program, through which former service members are hired as technicians or parts-supply specialists.
Audi of America has sweetened the pot this month for dealers by reducing the placement fee per veteran to $1,500 from the usual $3,500. As of early May, Audi dealers had hired a total of 180 veterans.
Veterans to Technicians “provides Audi dealers with a one-stop solution” for hiring military veterans entering the civilian labor force, some of them for the first time, Bernie Hyland, who runs the Audi program for Defense Department contractor Calibre Systems, says in a new video about the program. And participating dealers get recruiting help, tax credits and assistance in understanding veterans’ benefits “through a self-renewing program that is customized to meet their needs.”
As a result, several dealers have hired as many as seven military veterans into their service departments in just two years as they have learned some of the bedrock advantages of hiring this group of people: They’re disciplined; they thrive on teamwork; and they typically bring a lot more relevant experience than employers initially understand.
Participating Audi dealers also generally have found that the skill level of their military-veteran hires is stronger than anticipated. Many are finding a particular fit with former military-aviation specialists who are used to working with high-end electronics and smoothly grasp the cutting-edge electronics in Audi automobiles.
Challenges remain for boosting dealership participation in Veterans To Technicians, including some dealer passivity about investigating the program and some confusion about how it can benefit their operations.
“Great Americans are offered an opportunity to begin a challenging and rewarding new career on the back end of the service to our nation,” Hyland said in the video. Learn more at www.audivets.com.