Date: March 29, 2013
Representatives from AutoNation, the nation’s largest automotive retail corporation, visited the Athens Technical College campus Tuesday, March 5, to promote job opportunities at the company.
Blake Edwards, human resources director for AutoNation’s central region, and Jennifer Webster, a recruiter with the company, spoke with students enrolled in the college’s Automotive Technology and Automotive Collision Repair programs.
AutoNation, which owns 235 automotive dealerships around the country, operates Team Fiat Mall of Georgia, Team Toyota Mall of Georgia, (that has a collision repair shop), and Team Hyundai Mall of Georgia in Buford, Ms. Webster said.
“We have three dealerships within 50 miles of Athens, so we are trying to partner with local institutions that are educating students in fields related to our industry,” Ms. Webster explained. “The point of our visit (to the college on Tuesday) is to educate students about who we are and to let them know we are not that far away, and that we will come here for career fairs.”
Officials with AutoNation identified Athens Technical College as a highly-rated community college based on research the company did, Ms. Webster added.
“We know Athens Tech has great programs,” Ms. Webster said. “We have several students from your area who have shown an interest in AutoNation, so we wanted to build friendships and relationships with the instructors and students.”
AutoNation envisions providing employment opportunities to students through part-time internships or paid work programs, Ms. Webster said. The company also would entertain an invitation for one of its fixed operations managers to sit on the automotive programs’ advisory boards, she said.
Greg Thomas, the college’s Auto Collision Repair program chair, likes the prospects, AutoNation presents to his students.
“I’ve had quite a few students express strong interest in their organization,” Mr. Thomas said. “I truly hope we can place some students with them as AutoNation offers many benefits for employees. It sounds like a promising opportunity.”
During his presentation in the college’s auditorium, Mr. Edwards gave the students a broad overview of the AutoNation corporation structure, and noted that the AutoNation brand began in 1999. Last year the companies automotive stores serviced 15 million vehicles and sold 9 million autos, Mr. Edwards told the audience.
Mr. Edwards emphasized the importance of attending an institution like Athens Technical College that offers career advisement, and he told the students that auto technicians are considered to be highly focused. His caveat, though, was that it is crucial for students to put together an impressive resumes.
“Our job office reviews hundreds and hundreds of candidates,” Mr. Edwards said. “Our people can scan a resume in 10 seconds and identify if that person is a viable candidate.”
Working for AutoNation offers several benefits, Mr. Edwards told the students. The company pays for its employees to pursue online certifications, and also will send technicians to training courses, the HR director said. In addition, auto technicians can begin on their master certification after their first year with AutoNation, he said. The company also has more than a 1,000 online courses through its AutoNation University.
“The company likes to invest back into its employees,” Mr. Edwards said.
AutoNation offers individual employees 401(K) investment packages to which the company will contribute if the employees do. Health and insurance benefits and some longevity bonuses are available as well.
Winding up his talk, Mr. Edwards told attendees he hoped that as they move into the job market they would remember two key things he said. One is that if they are going to work in the auto service sector, they should pay the small price for short-term disability, and if they have an opportunity to contribute to a 401(K), they should do so and begin planning for retirement.
Photo caption: Blake Edwards, human resource director for AutoNation’s central region, speaks to Athens Technical College Automotive Technology Repair and Automotive Collision Repair students March 5, 2013.
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