With the industry becoming more and more complex due to consolidation, advances in technology and supply chain management issues, owners, executives and managers are looking for highly skilled employees in order to effectively manage their operations.
The Certificate for Automotive Entrepreneurs and Leaders (CAEL) from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU) ties in the knowledge and skills acquired in business school with the collision repair industry, exposing students to the intricacies of it.
Students in the CAEL program learn the workings of the industry from the inside through coursework focused on automotive issues, plus an internship or comparable experience. The in-depth content presented in classes and the hands-on enrichment of the internship builds on basic business knowledge such as finance, accounting, marketing, management, economics and computer information systems.
The program was started when Ford’s Dealer Development office wanted to help develop a program focused on the auto industry at a leading university. They wanted a program that would provide students with the ability to apply business acumen in the automotive industry and the leadership skills to instigate changes in the management of dealerships.
Several universities presented proposals, and ASU was selected. A key feature of the ASU proposal was the requirement that all certificate students be enrolled in a W. P. Carey business degree program before being accepted into the certificate program. The program is open to all undergraduate students accepted into the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. Additional incentives are offered for minority and female candidates.
“Minority and women candidates who graduate with a degree from the W. P. Carey School and the CAEL program are eligible to apply to Ford’s post-graduate program for future dealership managers and owners, the Automotive Dealership Education Program for Minorities (ADEPM),” says Gail Christian, CAEL coordinator.
The program began in 2002 as the Certificate in Dealership Management. In the fall of 2005, the name of the program was changed to Certificate for Automotive Entrepreneurs and Leaders. The change was made to reflect an emphasis on understanding the entire industry and a focus on leadership, says Christian.
In 2006, the LEAD program (Leadership Education program for Automotive Dealerships) became an alternative delivery method for the certificate. Qualified minority candidates who have a degree in business or are currently enrolled in a business major at other universities may be selected by Ford to receive a full scholarship to ASU to take the required CAEL classes. These classes are offered during an intensive seven-day session in two consecutive winter terms at ASU, with a summer internship arranged through Ford’s Minority Dealer Operations office during the summer between the two winter sessions. Students complete some of the required work through remote communication. The first class of the LEAD program was held from Jan. 3-9, 2007.
“The CAEL program teaches any interested business students about the many entrepreneurial and managerial opportunities that exist today in the automotive industry,” says Christian.