PAMSP 2021 Contract awards are quietly announced…

If Total Control Training, Inc. of CA (TCTI) thought it would earn any goodwill by picking up training at the end of 2020 to help students & PennDOT they were sorely mistaken – as were those TCTI Certified Instructors in South Eastern PA. As the Contract awards are announced to the winning bidders the incumbent vendor, TCTI, was awarded only 1 site in the Greater Philadelphia Region.

Instructors, prepare for retraining, again, as the MSF curriculum offered by (2) primary vendors, American Motorsport Training (AMT) of Florida & Motorcycle Safety Academy (MSA) of MD, becomes the primary curriculum in PA once again.

The contract awards were not based on past merit or regards to current Instructor certifications or equitable distribution of vendors and curriculum – but by PennDOT.

Instructors have been administratively fired by PennDOT 3 or more times since 2017, have had to become trained in (2) curricula, and have seen massive amounts of attrition multiple times (from ~550 to ~50 to ~200), all this while there was a single Commonwealth-wide curricula, so if there is one lesson prospective Instructors should understand about PennDOT & PAMSP: You are replaceable.

The biggest changes come to the Philadelphia Area where there is only 1 TCTI-based site is within an hour’s ride. Only 3 other sites are under 2 hours away, all other sites are over 2hrs away, including 4 which are over 4hrs away. To add insult to injury the only TCTI site “near” Philadelphia (inaccessible by city residents requiring mass transit) is scheduled for destruction when the Pennsylvania Turnpike Expansion (Milepost 320-326 Widening, second phase) commences near Valley Forge. Once removed it will not be replaced.

For those Instructors in the Philly area the time spent becoming Total Control certified – TC BRC, TC 3WRC, TC IRC & TC ARC – you’ve spent months of time (at your own expense) becoming certified in a curriculum you can no longer teach.

For many seasoned Instructors, this is the second time in 3 years this has occurred, and with most certifications expiring after 2yrs many are facing a 3rd recertification effort in 4yrs – on their own time, at vendor discretion.

For those Instructors recruited over the last 2yrs, those trained in 2019 & 2020? You may never have the opportunity to teach what you’ve been trained in, will have to face recertification in another vendor’s “Basic” curriculum – the prerequisite for all other certifications within that curriculum.

All vendors require a “Basic” Instructor certification – after that you may be eligible for training and certification in their other classes – 3 wheel, Intermediate, Advanced. Each level of certification can take weeks of preparation and a week of personal time, generally during times when those with primary employment must take off from work in order to persue certification.

An Instructor trained in ‘all’ MSF & TCTI range classes will have at least (4) MSF RiderCoach certifications and (4) TCTI Instructor certifications. Including previous MSF certifications a single Instructor may have as many as 11 certifications, investing ~9 weeks of in person training. Most current Instructors will now have at least 2, MSF Basic & TCTI Basic, if they decide to certify in MSF.

Because the new PAMSP contract gives PennDOT the ability to replace a site vendor after only 2 years, previously only at 5yrs, Instructors are going to have to carefully weigh the certifications they entertain.

In addition, the site awards lead to fewer sites in 2021 than in any previous years which can lead to Instructor contention issues as fewer sites mean more competition for Instructors. This also can lead to the site lockout Instructors had seen in the past, as vendors limit those who can teach, and teach at what sites.

As PAMSP funds are no longer being used to pay for Instructor training, and all vendors are for-profit, vendors will be more selective in who they train further reducing the number of potential Instructor positions. In addition to Instructor training costs vendors will also have to consider PAMSP program motorcycle rental fees, shed rental fees, and all other costs they are responsible for under the 2021 contract.

As there will be at least 3 primary vendors and a number of privateers Instructors may work for as many as 3 different vendors (teaching 3 or more curriculum) which complicates employment paperwork, scheduling, commitments, and time/tax management for Instructors.

Faced with the mounting complexities, PennDOT administration failings, contract issues, and recertification requirements many current Instructors will leave PAMSP, never to return.

Less sites & less Instructors mean less classes available for students who will again experience training delays in 2021 and beyond.

Scheduling will become an issue as PennDOT will now need to reconcile training schedules from multiple vendors, a scenario they’ve never had to deal with before.

Quality will suffer as rapid training will likely be used to certify current Instructors from one curriculum to another in less time than the formal new Instructor training process would require. Instructors require time in the field to become proficient, Quality Assurance checks conducted, remediation made, etc. all of which take time to address.

Via the “3rd party” contract process PennDOT has fundamentally changed PAMSP from a program with a “uniform curriculum for the course of instruction and training requirements for instructors” (Title 75, 7911a) to a collection of 3rd party for-profit vendors teaching a variety of training courses with various training requirements across Pennsylvania.

PAMSP, as you’ve known it, is effectively dead.
Long live PAMSP.

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