Program for Young 12V Installers Seeks Aid

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SkillsUSA Installer Program Seeks Help

A nationwide program that helps train young 12 volt installers may be cancelled unless it receives some support.

The program is actually a contest for installers, including high schoolers, that has been held for years, as part of the greater SkillsUSA program, which seeks to promote a skilled US workforce.

Over a hundred installers, mostly in high school, compete each year, following MECP guidelines in written tests and live installs, in the mobile electronics portion of the program.  The contest has been funded by a training company that can no longer devote the resources.

The program is looking for new donors to cover the approximate $4,000/year fees required for judges and their expenses at local, state and national contests.¬† This year’s finals would be held in June in Atlanta, if funding can be found.

Winners of the Mobile Electronics challenge as part of SkillsUSA


Educational Technologies Group, Inc./Marcraft has provided much of the funding for years. It agreed to continue to coordinate the sponsorship, if industry members step up to lend their support. Small donations are also welcome.

The program has served as a training ground for installers, and many of the participants end up at local retailers including Best Buy, said Chris Jack Technical Chairperson for Mobile Electronics Installation  for SkillsUSA.

NavToolTodd Ramsey, of Ramsey Consulting Group, and a former consultant for MECP, said the national competition produces, “the best of what could eventually be new hires in the career of installers.” He added, SkillsUSA is well known in the technical career world as a great springboard to connect students with real world skills.

Suppliers can contribute in other ways than funding and products.  They can connect local contests to nearby manufacturer representatives who can introduce kids in the program to retailers in need of installers.

Jack says the program is mainly active in 14 states, so there’s plenty of room for expansion at a time when installers are in short supply.

Jack worked at Al & Ed’s Autosound, CA until 2000, when he began teaching mobile electronics classes for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He started the mobile electronics contest for SkillsUSA in 2002.

To assist, contact Chris Jack at [email protected] or (310)866 2454

Photo: (Center) Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs, which is a partner of SkillsUSA.


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