auto care career and education award

ACE Award - Auto Care Career and Education Award (formerly the Head of the Class Award)

ACE AwardThe Auto Care Career and Education (ACE) Award was created by the Auto Care Association’s Education Committee to recognize industry companies truly dedicated to investing in the growth of their employees’ knowledge and skills, as well as offering professional development and career opportunities.

Award-winning companies are acknowledged as leaders in the industry because they provide their employees with both the culture that leads to career growth and the education and training needed for employees to reach their individual career goals. These companies, in turn, benefit from their investment because educated and engaged employees contribute to a more customer-centric, efficient and profitable business.

The Auto Care Association promotes the winning companies as examples of what leading companies are doing, outlining their successful programs, and sharing the return on investment each company experiences. 

Click here to apply for the 2018 award.

2017 Winners

Genuine Parts Company/NAPA
Atlanta, Ga.
Number of Employees: 17,091
Number of Locations: 1000

  • NAPA has a robust training department, which is involved from the beginning in all new projects and initiatives across departments so they can determine training needs early.
  • Specific training requirements include 22 hours per employee/year.
  • To ensure training consistency across locations, NAPA provides train-the-trainer sessions for new materials during their semi-annual training staff meetings at headquarters, as well as promote trainers observing each other’s classes to encourage their own learning and promote consistent delivery.
  • Their highlighted program for this award is the LEAD Store Manager Training Program. LEAD is an exclusive program, graduating more than 100 qualified store manager candidates per year from six-month program that consists of classroom training sessions, hands-on mentored training in stores, over 60 e-learning programs, and active coaching for each participant by four field managers from their district and division.
  • As a result of this LEAD program, NAPA has found that more store managers have a greater understanding of store operations, loss prevention, and other critical skills, as well as increased staff management skills.
  • In subsequent years, NAPA has also developed and launched a parallel program for DC stockroom managers and for independently-owned NAPA store managers.

MOTOR Information Systems
Troy, Mich.
Number of Employees: 200
Number of Locations: 3

  • MOTOR believes it’s critically important to build upon strengths and master new skills in order to meet the evolving needs of the business. To this end, they have developed two key learning programs - SEED and M-Talks.
  • SEED - The Software Engineering Education and Development Program - is designed to develop and refine the software expertise of a select set of high performing employees across Hearst Media by placing hem in a six-month technology skills development program.
  • M-Talks spans across the enterprise to deepen knowledge and understanding on a wide variety of business topics. Presentations occur monthly, and feedback is regularly solicited and directly included into the program.
  • M-Talks also promote knowledge leaders within the organization. Leaders present and/or recommend members of their team to present as a part of the program. Presenters are also featured in MOTOR’s employee Slack channel “motor-stream.”
  • The M-Talks initiative has already seen success from implementation, with learnings from this educational program spurring efficient cross-functional collaboration efforts, strategic problem solving, effective project planning, and breaking down barriers between different company roles and increasing awareness of team members’ expertise and day-to-day functionality.
  • For example, in 2016 MOTOR conducted 31 M-Talk presentations through the year with an average audience size of 20. By the end of the year 113 employees had participated in an M-Talk session.
  • Overall, investment in education is highlighted through a variety of factors, such as dedicated training funds, use of a Learning Management System, cloud-based training materials available at any location, and the creation and implementation of new educational initiatives. program for sales and technical support personnel.
  • Education programs and funding are reviewed annually, including industry and new product programs, regulatory changes and performance review needs.

National PRONTO Association
Grapevine, Texas
Number of Employees: 14

  • National PRONTO Association was founded in 1977 by William J. Menghini, president and CEO, MENCO Corporation.
  • Training and education opportunities for employees encompass a variety of topics, such as sales, finance, technology, customer service and leadership development.
  • Overall budget includes dedicated training/education funds.
  • Training and education is provided to employees through a variety of methods, including online classes, on-site classroom, webinars and printed material as well as on the job training and mentoring.
  • Sustainability in training is achieved through employee skill-set evaluation and feedback.
  • Four of National PRONTO Association’s associates have completed Leadership 2.0 and one has completed Leadership 3.0. Three additional associates are scheduled to attend future iterations of Leadership 2.0.
  • National PRONTO Association gives out up to $30,000 in educational scholarship funding annually.

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