The Auto, Truck, and Collision Repair Industry has a massive need for new service technicians. Ten thousand baby boomers turn 65 every day. Automotive technology is becoming more complex, so technicians with up-to-date training is critical. Meanwhile, we are competing with every other skilled trade from advanced machining to HVAC to wind power for the best future workers. If we don’t attract them while they are young, we may never have a chance to recruit them at all.
The good news is that there are thousands of high school and college training programs across the country to supply our need. But they need our help. Schools want to give students the skills that matter to local industry, and employers like you can tell them what is important. Meanwhile, career & technical education (or CTE for short) program budgets are under attack in many places. Without industry champions to explain the value of those programs to superintendents and deans, they can disappear literally overnight. Most critically, students who are considering their options need to know that there are solid career paths in the transportation service industry and hearing it firsthand from employers like you is the most convincing approach.
Moreover, students need to gain hands-on work experience in our industry while they are still in school. Recent research shows that students who attend ASE accredited schools and participate in structured work while in school (called “work-based learning”) are more likely to enter the industry after graduation and remain there. This can’t happen unless schools and employers actively work together.
At the ASE Education Foundation, we term the technician shortage “a national problem with a local solution.” When schools and local service businesses work together, we can ensure a strong pipeline of well-trained entry-level technicians. This toolkit is a step-by-step guide full of ideas on how to work together for mutual benefit, and we intend to add to the resources over time as new ideas come to light. We thank all the employers and schools that have contributed examples and wish you much success. Let’s get started!
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