This past year, TowsonGlobal was engaged by Vehicles for Change (VFC) to prepare a business plan to help obtain funding for a new initiative launching this spring. Just like for-profit enterprises, not-for-profits also need to have a well-written, thorough business plan to present to potential funding agents. VFC has embarked on this journey for its new venture.

VFC is well known for helping families who are unable to get decent jobs and support themselves because they lack adequate transportation. The organization removes that obstacle by repairing donated cars and awarding them to families at very affordable prices, thus enabling low-income families to become self-sufficient.

Image credit: Vehicles for Change

Image credit: Vehicles for Change

Now, with this new initiative, VFC is adding an additional related training program to be called the Academy for Automotive Careers (ACC). The program is being established in cooperation with Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake (GIC) and an education partner. These partnerships complement VFC’s capabilities and help strengthen the case with potential funders.

AAC will be established in phases in order to be cost effective and to develop credibility for the program.

Phase I: Auto detailer training will be launched during the first year.

Phase II: Basic auto technician training will be launched during the second year.

With high unemployment, particularly among low income and minority workers, there is a desperate need for innovative ways to put people back to work and to give workers the opportunity to learn new skills while they look to re-enter the workforce. AAC will provide the unemployed and low to moderate income individuals in the region with training in the automotive industry. It will assist them in developing abilities to win and maintain better paying jobs, to earn a living wage.

At the same time, a need exists within the automobile service sector for properly trained detailers and technicians. Local high schools and colleges cannot fill the need sufficiently; especially due to the high costs/tuition. Regional demand for automobile detailers is significant. Anywhere from 200-900 detailing positions are open annually in the region. Further, there will be 3,320 job openings across Maryland for automotive service technicians through 2018. This equates to over 300 technician jobs per year.

In addition to the thorough training and education curriculum provided by VFC, Goodwill will work with each student to prepare him or her to convert those skills into a job. They will provide job readiness training for all trainees including soft skills, interview skills, job search skills, and resume and cover letter preparation. They also will provide case management services for all program participants. The organization has committed to working diligently with drop-outs to find job placement and other employment opportunities.

Interest in the initiative among those who would hire graduates of AAC already is developing, and several foundations are actively considering funding the program.

For more information about Vehicles for Change, its admirable programs or to learn about donating a car or funds, click here.

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