LACONIA — This year, Irwin Automotive Group will be supporting one of its Toyota technicians by providing full tuition for coursework at Lakes Region Community College. Jeremie LaPlante, Belmont resident and second-year student in the Toyota Technician Education Network program, will have his entire second year of automotive coursework paid.

Irwin will be reimbursed a portion of the expense through a workforce development grant with the New Hampshire Auto Dealers Association. The automotive dealers in New Hampshire came together with support from the NHADA to secure New Hampshire Work Ready grant funding and partnered with local community colleges to provide customized training opportunities for employees. The goal of the program is to help employers meet consumer demand by preparing their employees to handle the rapid technological advancements occurring in the automotive industry, provide employees with opportunities for career and salary advancement, and to build employee and customer loyalty. Many dealers have taken advantage of the opportunity by paying for a class or two, but Irwin is the first to pay for full tuition.

LaPlante started the program with no formal training in automotive service. With a strong desire to learn, support from faculty, and involved Irwin management and technician mentors, he has been able to turn his interest in cars into a career.

“As the youngest member of the 2019-2021 Toyota T-TEN class, Jeremie has shown a high level of maturity that we appreciate. He did not come from an automotive background but has risen to be one of the top students in his class. Jeremie is always one of the first students to complete the tasks assigned correctly and sees a difficult task as an opportunity, not a roadblock,” said Instructor Brian Ellis.

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