Training APEX Awards Best Practice: Reskilling/Upskilling Training at CarMax

The program aims to build an internal technology pipeline that provides opportunities for associates to learn and grow while building an internal bench to feed critical roles.

APEX Awards

Last year, CarMax launched Technology Reskilling/Upskilling training for associates who are interested in technology opportunities at the used car retailer. The program aims to build an internal technology pipeline that:

  • Provides opportunities for associates to learn and grow
  • Builds an internal bench to feed critical roles
  • Enables delivery of CarMax’s strategic plan
  • Creates a culture of learning

Program Details

The Reskilling/Upskilling program is currently open to all Home Office and CarMax Auto Finance (CAF) associates who are interested in pursuing a technology role.

The training includes two programs:

  1. Data Science and Machine Learning (DSML)
  2. Back-End Software Engineering (BESE)

Both programs are completed in part-time cohorts over three months. This design allows associates to learn critical skills while remaining in their role. The programs feature asynchronous and synchronous learning that includes:

  • Self-paced online learning: This is offered through third-party vendors Udacity and Pluralsight.
  • CarMax associate-led Lunch & Learns: These sessions, led by CarMax associates on the Technology team, tie newly acquired skills from the Reskilling/Upskilling training back to how machine learning is being used at CarMax.
  • Cohort sessions: In the cohort, participants move through the program together while creating a network of support for each other.
  • A capstone project presented to Technology leadership: The program concludes with a capstone project to allow participants to practice their newly acquired skills. During this half-day project, program participants are placed in groups to tackle real business problems at CarMax with mentorship by an existing team member.

Results

Some 52 associates participated in the pilot program. CarMax plans to open future programs to field associates who are looking to transition to the technology space.

  • The DSML Program

Net Promoter Score: 39 (above the goal of 30)

The DSML Program concluded on March 25, 2022. One hundred percent of managers either agree or strongly agree that their associates gained a valuable new skill as a result of the program. As of July 14, 2022, three program participants had interviewed for DSML roles, and one was hired into a full-time role on the DSML team.

  • The BESE Program:

Net Promoter Score: 29

The BESE Program concluded on June 24, 2022. One hundred percent of managers either agree or strongly agree that their associate gained a valuable new skill as a result of the program. And 87.5 percent of managers think their associate will be able to apply this learning to their new role. Some 85.7 percent of the respondents said they are likely or very likely to apply for a back-end software engineering role. As of July 14, 2022, one program participant was hired into a full-time role on the Software Engineering team.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.