FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 23, 2013) -- The Ordnance School has procured 1,000 National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence test vouchers for the second year of its wheel vehicle mechanic credentialing pilot program.

"In our first year, we could only fund 45 participants due to budget constraints," noted Sam Burns, course manager at the Wheel Maintenance Training Department. "This increase opens up a lot of new opportunities for our Soldiers to enroll in the program.

"We also learned in the first year that ASE credentialing is not easy," he added, "so, to help improve our pass rates, the ODS has purchased pre-tests, a skill assessment tool, training modules to improve weaknesses and a post test for each participant. To make things even better and simpler for Soldiers, these tools can be accessed via any computer with Internet capability."

The credentialing pilot program is an off-shoot of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Service leaders were ordered to implement a professional certification system that would give veterans an advantage in the job market when they leave the service. Five military occupational specialties -- including 91-Bravo wheel vehicle mechanic -- were instructed to implement a pilot program by Oct. 1. The Ordnance School immediately complied and is well on its way to establishing an ambitious credentialing system for automotive maintenance Soldiers.

"The ASE was selected as the agency that would provide our Ordnance Soldiers automotive credentialing while on active duty," Burns said. "It also provides labor marketing and employment opportunities for enrolled Soldiers when they choose to leave the military. That also meets the goals of the NDAA-2012 directive."

An overview of the new additions to this year's ASE pilot credentialing program for wheel vehicle mechanics includes the following:

• Comprehensive Skill Assessment Tool -- A pre-test with questions geared toward the ASE exams, and a post-assessment that shows the level of knowledge gained after completing the training program. The pre- and post-exams only can be accessed one time.

• Professional Technician Training Series -- In-depth, online training courses that allow enrollees to work at their own pace while enhancing automotive knowledge and preparing for the ASE exams. They include visual and audio assistance. The PTTS offers multiple lessons with associated quizzes. Each module can be accessed as many times as needed.

• Exam registration and vouchers -- Required to obtain a seat for ASE testing at a designated Prometric Test Center.
The courses of instruction and associated exams available to Soldiers through the ASE credentialing pilot include the following:

• Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification Test (G1) -- Introduced this year, the module is geared toward newly trained mechanics. To complete the certification, mechanics must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of common maintenance and light repair tasks.

• Automobile Service Consultant Certification Test (C1) -- This module is geared toward mechanics with service consultant experience and a strong overall automotive background. The course and exam is meant to improve the quality of vehicle and customer service; closely related to shop 91B30 foreman duties.

• Diesel Engine Certification Test (T2) -- Recommended for mechanics with extensive knowledge and understanding of diesel engines. Participants must demonstrate knowledge of the skills necessary to diagnose, service and repair different systems of trucks and tractors.

Those eligible to participate in the wheel vehicle mechanic certification program include advanced individual training Soldiers and those attending professional military education courses. Additionally, Soldiers in the operational force (U.S. Army Forces Command) and Reservists and National Guardsmen attending training at the Reserve Training Sites-Maintenance are eligible for the program.

"All participants will be issued alpha-numeric codes that will enable them to access the websites associated with the training," Burns said. "For simplicity, we were able to establish a single website that provides lock-step instruction to guide Soldiers through the enrollment process."

The website is The homepage includes the following introduction:
"The Army wants you to be a success, both in the service and after discharge. In the civilian world, ASE certification demonstrates your job-related knowledge. The Army has partnered with ASE and Cengage Learning to provide you with resources designed to help you get ASE certification, a good job and good pay in the motor vehicle industry."

"That pretty much sums up the importance of the program," Burns said. "We're setting our Soldiers up for long-term career success. That's our obligation as trainers, and it's creating a lot of excitement within all of the departments and agencies here that are part of the credentialing pilot."

Those who would like to participate in the wheel vehicle mechanic credentialing pilot are encouraged to contact the designated representative for their assigned course or organization. Those individuals and their area of responsibility are: Burns, Ordnance School,; Terrance Carter, Advanced Leaders Course,; Chief Warrant Officer 4 Nichole Rettman, RTS-M,; Chief Warrant Officer 4 Damian Stone, Warrant Officer Basic Course,; and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Henry Richardson, FORSCOM,