It’s a simple matter of math. Every year, approximately 76,000 service technician jobs open up in the auto industry as workers retire and new jobs develop. At the same time, roughly 37,000 new technicians graduate from US training programs and colleges. This translates into an annual deficit of 39,000 technicians, give or take a few. To fill spots and thrive, the automotive sector is sorely in need of a solution that will balance the numbers.
The National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) hopes to make a sizable dent in the problem. This week their foundation launched a new consumer-facing website, www.nadafoundation.org. According to NADA, the site aims to make it easier for those looking to join the service technician trade.
The site takes a three-pronged approach, offering information on the various paths available to men and women interested in becoming service techs, linking all the programs available, and providing a one-stop portal for scholarships in the field.
NADA President and CEO, Peter Welch, emphasizes the need for the initiative, explaining, “Until the launch of nadafoundation.org, there was nowhere for a prospective technician to find out where their closest training program was located. For example, Toyota’s T-10 website shows where the Toyota programs are, and GM’s ASEP website shows where the GM programs are. But each ignore the other, leaving prospective students confused.” Now, everything can be found in one place. “Our new website brings together all OEM training programs onto the same map, through data provided by our friends at Auto Service Excellence (ASE). Now anyone can now find out where the closest ASE training program is located, public or private, regardless of manufacturer.”
Getting the word out is important. In the current market, the average dealership technician can make upwards from $60,000 a year, plus benefits, and has tremendous mobility opportunities. With experience, that salary can increase to more than $100,000 at franchised dealerships.
“Promoting the tremendous benefits of service technician jobs and making it easier for interested students to find out about the training and scholarship opportunities available to them where they live is vital to addressing the service technician shortage that every dealer is facing,” said NADA’s Chairman Charlie Gilchrist. “Our workforce is our absolute best asset as dealers, but we have to recruit, train and retain the best people if we want to continue providing our customers with the best experience possible.”
Overall, the new website’s goal is to foster a stronger network for dealerships through investing in the people who build the industry. In addition to the services mentioned earlier, the NADA Foundation’s Workforce initiative hopes to further enrollment in technician programs through career fairs, digital marketing, and other actions that generate interest in these programs.
“The auto retail industry has a fantastic story to tell about the tremendous careers we provide,” summed up Welch. “We just need to get together and start telling it to the right people.”
To hear more on what Charlie Gilchrist, 2019 NADA Chairman has planned for the year ahead, watch his interview here on CBTNews.com.