Subaru of New England has gifted $500,000 to Northwood University to hire an all new Professor of Automotive Strategy.
In a release, university officials said the new professor will educate students, handle research and network with industry insiders. They will also collaborate with multiple departments to expand the institute’s Automotive Marketing and Management courses. While a candidate has yet to be selected, the role will be filled by an automotive leader “who will contribute to ensuring that Northwood University continues to expand its cutting-edge automotive industry programming.” Kent MacDonald, Northwood President, believes that the new position will broaden “Northwood University’s role as the market leader delivering undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs for the North American automotive industry.” MacDonald also named Subaru of New England as an “industry-leading organization and a well-respected brand in the automotive sector.”
The donation coincides with a renewed sense of urgency among automotive leaders to train the next generation of workers. Many professionals took the COVID pandemic as their cue to retire from the car business, but, due to the lack of incoming talent, the resulting job gap has remained unfilled for several years. Dealers have witnessed this first hand in the service department, where new technicians are becoming difficult to find. According to a 2021 survey conducted by Australian automotive cooperative Capricorn, over a third of repair shop owners believed that young people simply had no interest in working as mechanics, auto-elecricians or technicians. Both retailers and OEMs in the U.S. are increasingly working with education institutions to prevent an even worse worker shortage down the line. Partnerships similar to that between Subaru of New England and Northwood University are likely to become more popular in the coming years.