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This NC alumna is the driving force behind Chrysler’s auto training

For more than 15 years, Christine White has not only exceled as a leader in the automotive sector, she’s revolutionized how Chrysler technicians across the United States stay on top of the cutting-edge knowledge that’s vital in one of the world’s most competitive markets.

White, who’s been nominated for a 2023 Premier’s Award in the Apprenticeship category, graduated from Niagara College in 2006 with her Automotive Qualifications Certificate, and has gone on to become the lead technical training instructor for Stellantis, the Dutch-based parent company of Chrysler.

It was a career path that fit perfectly with White’s fascination with cars. While in high school, she attended a Niagara College open house and was drawn to the automotive apprenticeship program. Three years and 9,000 hours of apprenticeship work later, she achieved her certificate and also passed her Red Seal certification—an internationally recognized credential that set her apart from others when she moved to the U.S. several years later.

White left NC and began a career that grew steadily as she applied her knowledge at ever-larger Canadian and U.S. car dealerships.

In 2019, she was recruited by Stellantis to oversee operations at its New York City-area training centre and coordinate training seminars for 1,200 technicians across the New York City area and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.

Then COVID-19 brought in-person teaching at the training center to a halt, despite dealerships still urgently needing training support for servicing new models.
“It’s amazing how much the technology and makeup of cars has changed in 20 years,” White said. “There are more electrical modules in today’s vehicles than in the average house, but we couldn’t teach basic classes in person, and we needed to make training available.”

“I try to share my passion and encourage technicians to take pride in their work. If they take pride in their work, it shows they care, the work gets done right the first time.”

To offer basic support during lockdown, White recorded a couple of training videos that were accessible online. She had excellent public speaking and photography skills—all self-taught years earlier—and she put them to work to learn how to shoot her own videos.

“I had a leg up because I’d already adapted to videos,” she said. “I knew how to light a camera, ask questions effectively, explain things verbally and visually.”

That training format was supposed to be a temporary solution, but it ultimately transformed how Chrysler keeps its army of staff up with ever-evolving technology.

Today, a library of more than 150 short instructional videos written, illustrated, produced and narrated by White are accessible to 22,000 Chrysler technicians across the U.S.

White says her Niagara College instructors instilled not just knowledge but a passion for excellence. She implores her technicians or students to constantly demand high standards with their skills, too.

“I’m a huge proponent of Colleges Ontario holding people to a national standard,” she says. “I try to share my passion and encourage technicians to take pride in their work. If they take pride in their work, it shows they care, the work gets done right the first time. It makes them feel good, makes the dealership look good, everyone is happy.”

This story is part of a series featuring seven distinguished members of Niagara College’s alumni community, who have been nominated for Colleges Ontario’s prestigious 2023 Premier’s Awards.