The American Rental Association (ARA) has launched its inaugural ARA Certified programs, a series of certification programs covering essential training for mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) on both trainer and operator sides; and sales and service certification programs for those in the equipment rental segment.
“The ARA Certified programs we launched in March are a direct reflection of our association’s strategic initiatives that are focused on safety and preparing the industry for the future,” says Tony Conant, ARA CEO. “These programs establish rental industry standards, professional development and training that you can’t find anywhere else.”
The MEWP-related programs include the ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer course and the ARA Certified MEWP Operator course. The Train the Trainer course will qualify graduates to train operators with instruction that satisfies OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) A92 standards, and the Operator course will be taught by graduates of the ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer program who will be qualified to certify employees. This can help increase the value employees can provide to customers while eliminating the need to outsource the training to manufacturers or competitors.
More details about the MEWP programs can be found in the April Safety Issue insert delivered in this issue of Rental Management.
“An industry standard and brand-agnostic MEWP certification has been a long-time request of members large and small,” says Josh Nickell, ARA vice president, equipment segment. “Safety is paramount to rental companies and the MEWP certification will elevate the safety and professionalism of your team. Additionally, once the operator certification for your customers is released next year, it will open up new revenue opportunities for your business and create a stickier bond between you and your key contractors in addition to making sure your customers have the highest quality safety training available.”
Nickell also says the offering of much of the MEWP programs in a self-guided online format is a “key innovation — this saves your team time, increases engagement, and makes for a smoother certification experience for your staff and customers.”
The ARA Certified Sales program provides knowledge through training courses such as customer service, digital marketing, sales skills and more; the ARA Certified Service program educates users in electrical systems, diesel engines, gas engines, hydraulics and other topics pertinent to maintaining rental equipment.
“ARA Certified Sales and ARA Certified Service will give your employees an opportunity to grow and learn with self-paced, dynamic training plans catered to their job functions,” Conant says.
Each ARA Certified program includes online self-guided training through RentalU — ARA’s online education platform. The ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer program also involves a 4- to 5-hour live, hands-on training session conducted by a certified master trainer. These sessions will complete the instruction for train-the-trainers and graduates will become qualified to train ARA Certified MEWP Trainers. The hands-on training offerings will be presented by ARA state associations or at other local settings for members without an active ARA state chapter.
The initial reaction from members aware of the development of the ARA Certified programs is excitement about the long-awaited arrival of professional-grade certifications for equipment rental staff.
“For the past three years, I have been pushing for a certification for equipment like the event segment has with ARA’s CERP [Certified Event Rental Professional] program, and it thrills me to know that it is finally happening,” says Beth Hoff Blackmer, president, Aspen Rent-All, Basalt, Colo. “We, as individuals and as businesses, are always seeking ways to grow personally and professionally. The ARA Certified programs will be a fantastic offering for owners to offer to their staff. It also promotes rental as a safe industry, which is critical in the construction field. I look forward to becoming certified and urge all in the equipment rental industry to join me.”
Dan Fielitz, president, General Rent-All, Massillon, Ohio, echoes Hoff Blackmer’s anticipation of the ARA Certified programs.
“I’m really looking forward to offering my staff the ability to grow their careers here. Our industry has needed a rental-specific, standardized platform that accredits them a professional certification. We have high hopes that the programs will give us an option for our employees and customers to help step up everyone’s game,” he says.
Collectively, the ARA Certified programs were two years in the making and reflect ARA’s commitment to its strategic pillar of providing education resources for the rental industry workforce.
“These programs are foundational to the ARA Certified content catalog, and we will be adding other certification programs in the future. ARA Certified reflects our commitment to being members’ primary source for education and training in the equipment and event rental industry,” Conant says.
Work on ARA Certified programs for forklift operations and MEWP operator certifications for rental customers is underway and are expected to be released in 2023. In addition, upgrades are in the pipeline for popular ARA education programs including the Professional Driver Education Program and the CERP distinction.
You can get started with ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer online at ARArental.org/MEWP, and with ARA Certified Sales and ARA Certified Service programs at ARArental.org/Certified.
Promoting ARA Certified
The American Rental Association (ARA) is pulling out all the stops to promote the new, highly anticipated ARA Certified programs to members of the equipment rental industry. This includes a multi-phase campaign centered around print ads, social media posts, emails, banners in Rental Pulse and more.
But getting the word in the street about ARA Certified programs and their benefits to those in the industry is only part of the picture. Once professional certification is achieved by your staff in ARA Certified MEWP (mobile elevating work platform) Train the Trainer; ARA Certified MEWP Operator; ARA Certified Sales; or ARA Certified Service, you are going to want to communicate that to your customers as a promotional tool.
That is why ARA is providing a digital kit to ARA Certified graduates upon completion that includes promotional materials branded to the program, including:
- Social media banners (appropriate for LinkedIn and Facebook)
- Social media post examples
- ARA Certified logo bundle
Those who complete the tracks related to ARA Certified Sales and ARA Certified Service will receive, in addition to their certification documents, a physical kit containing branded merchandise, including:
You can get started with ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer at ARArental.org/MEWP, and with ARA Certified Sales and ARA Certified Service programs at ARArental.org/Certified. Questions? Contact ARA’s education team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What ARA Certified delivers for you
The American Rental Association’s (ARA) new ARA Certified series has launched with four distinct certification programs that will train equipment rental employees to deliver top-shelf, professional service to customers:
ARA Certified MEWP (mobile elevating work platform) Train the Trainer. This program qualifies graduates to train operators using ARA materials that satisfy OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements and the new ANSI (American National Standards Institute) A92 standards. Enrollees will take a classroom portion of the training online through RentalU and then spend 4 to 5 hours completing a hands-on portion of the training. The online training modules include:
- Train the Trainer Information
- Introduction to MEWPs
- Know Your Responsibilities (Training Requirements)
- Identify the Right MEWP for the Job
- MEWP Controls and Features
- Manuals, Decals, Placards
- MEWP Safety
- Pre-Start Inspection & Function Check
- Safely Operate a MEWP
ARA Certified MEWP Operator. This program is taught by ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer program graduates who, once credentialed, may certify rental company employees and increase the value they provide to the customer. ARA Certified MEWP Trainers will have administrator rights in RentalU, allowing them to purchase the MEWP Operator program for their staff, administer the operator hands-on training and record evaluations online.
ARA Certified Sales. This program is designed for employees responsible for customer interactions, digital marketing and more. Employees well-suited for this track include sales staff, customer service representatives and office managers. Education tracks include:
- Advanced Principles of Service
- Introduction to Sales
- Inside Sales
- Outside Sales
- Introduction to Marketing
- Digital Marketing
- Consumer Behavior
- Marketing in the Equipment Rental Industry
- 8 Additional Industry Sales Courses
ARA Certified Service. This certification is designed for employees interested in honing their skills in equipment maintenance, safety and technical knowledge. Employees well-suited for this track include service managers, mechanics or operations specialists. Education tracks include:
- Electrical Systems
- Diesel Engines
- Gas Engines
- Fuel Systems
- The Yard and Shop
You can learn more about ARA Certified MEWP programs at ARArental.org/MEWP, and about ARA Certified Sales and ARA Certified Service programs at ARArental.org/Certified.