ASE Education Foundation Board Chair Donna Schaar releases message

"We know that industry and education must partner together to show students the solid career paths available in auto, truck and collision repair as well as provide them up-to-date technical education and real-world work experience," Schaar writes.

ASE Education Foundation Board Chair Donna Schaar, AVP, talent acquisition, CarMax, today released this message to the industry:

“It is my privilege to serve as chair of the ASE Education Foundation and help share the value of ASE-accreditation and support the programs that strengthen the relationships between schools, students and employers. 

As we start the new school year, it is a good time to reflect on this summer’s annual ASE Instructors Training Conference, where over 1,000 instructors, presenters and industry guests from across the country participated in training classes for high school and post-secondary instructors from automotive, truck and collision repair programs. While the conference was held virtually, the instructors who took part in the conference felt optimistic and had a renewed focus on in-person learning and hands-on practice for their students.

At the conference, we released the findings of the recently conducted student career survey. The Foundation conducted the survey to learn how many automotive students went on to careers in the automotive service industry. The survey found that students attending programs accredited by ASE were more likely to feel well-prepared for their careers, go on to earn ASE credentials and enter the industry versus their counterparts from non-accredited programs. You can see the complete results of the survey by visiting the Resources section of and then clicking on Presentations and 2021 Career Survey.

The survey also revealed that students who engaged in meaningful work-based learning while still in school were more likely to join and remain in the automotive service industry. Notably, students from ASE-accredited programs were more likely to participate in work-based learning than those from non-accredited programs and that’s why work-based learning is an important initiative for us. 

We know that industry and education must partner together to show students the solid career paths available in auto, truck and collision repair as well as provide them up-to-date technical education and real-world work experience. To be effective, that partnership must happen at the local level and to aid that effort, the ASE Education Foundation has initiated the ASE Adopt-A-School Program. This online resource will help bridge the gap between businesses and schools, offering specific steps that employers can take to get involved, including becoming a guest speaker, judging student competitions and joining the school’s advisory committee. It also guides employers and instructors on how to implement job shadowing and structured work-based learning programs for students. To learn more, please visit

Because the most successful work-based learning programs are well structured, aligned with the program’s course of study, and include a workplace mentor who works alongside the student and shares their progress with the instructor, the ASE Education Foundation launched a Registered Apprenticeship pilot program that includes all these activities and is expanding updated training for mentors with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. 

It’s no secret that potential learning gaps related to COVID-19 are concerning to many schools at the outset of this year, and the first step to mitigate those gaps is to identify them. While the ASE Entry-Level Certification test is often used by instructors at the end of a semester or program to measure achievement, it is an excellent resource to be used in a pre-test/post-test mode at no extra cost, allowing instructors to identify areas where students may need remedial work to catch up. A recorded webinar detailing this approach is available at and we invite you to view it. 

The ASE Education Foundation continues to identity and develop solutions that help schools train students to be ready to enter the workforce and employers to mentor and hire well-prepared employees. Together with our industry partners, I am proud to support the ASE Education Foundation and recognize that it is the leader nationwide in bringing industry and education together to help students enter and remain in the industry. 

On behalf of the ASE Education Foundation Board of Directors, thank you for your hard work and know that we stand with you, ready to help. We wish you all the best school year ever!”

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