Tech Shortage Will Pass If Industry Takes Action Now – Tire Test | CarTailz

This year’s supply and demand report for transportation technicians, released on November 1st, might have you sucking your teeth. Compiled annually by the TechForce Foundation, the report helps us understand the current and projected shortage of professionals needed to maintain the national automotive fleet. Here’s a breakdown of some of the stats that made our hair fly:

  • The supply of enrolling technicians from post-secondary automotive education programs in the US decreased 11.8% to 28,866 in 2021.
  • TechForce estimates that demand for incoming automotive/diesel/collision repair technicians – for new jobs, replacements for job separations and vacancies from previous years – will reach 232,000 in 2022 and well over 900,000 overall by 2026.
  • Supply of program graduates (degrees) declined 2.6% and 0.4% in the diesel and collision repair segments, respectively, but has declined 17% overall over the past five years.

The numbers are stunning. At a time when technicians are needed more than ever, fewer aspiring technicians are completing post-secondary programs.

However, these black clouds have silver linings. TechForce Foundation chief executive officer Jennifer Mayer says the pendulum is starting to swing back in the positive direction. For example, she says, the deteriorating picture of technician supply – with overall hiring falling from 48,208 in 2020 to 44,052 in 2021 – is overshadowing a strong year-on-year recovery in technician employment in auto (+4.2%) and diesel ( +6.5). %) Repair segments.

That’s not all, especially if the TechForce Foundation has something to say about it. TechForce’s Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Jennifer and Mike Pessendo, sat down with Tire Review at this year’s AAPEX Show to help us clarify what the industry can and can’t do to address the tech shortage the Foundation is doing to help the cause.

David Sickels: The first thing I want to ask you about is this mobile experience that brought you to AAPEX. Can you explain to me how you came up with the activities? What will I find here?

Jennifer Mayer: This is the TechForce STEM Career Center. We created it to be mobile and Penske Truck Leasing donated the 26 foot box trailer. It’s all packaged for TechForce. It was really about getting TechForce to the students in grassroots communities and showing up at many career fairs with a bigger presence than today, it’s still the old six foot table and the flyers. You think, “That’s how it was when I was a kid.” They say, “We’re no further advanced than that?”

I also had a bit of annoyance that when I showed up they were talking about STEM careers and they all had computers and then they took the auto industry to the other side of the gym or something. I say, “Wait a minute, we’re missing out.” Those are STEM jobs. You must understand science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They are constantly changing and developing technologies. We say they are no longer working class but new collar careers. The idea behind the STEM Mobile Career Center was to be able to take it to where the students are and/or bring the students with them and have interactive exhibits that give us the opportunity to have that dialogue. For example, we got the SNAP on Go Nuts. It’s like, what does the metric system have to do with it? When I study at school, I think, “Well, why do I care?”

There are interactive ways we are getting young people and their parents to come to the booth and realize that not every kid needs to go to four-year college and that there are kids who are wired for that kind of success. Those are good solid careers.

How long have you been taking this to different schools across the country?

Jennifer Mayer: We started in 2019 and then got hit by COVID. It took 2020 and a bit of 2021. Now we’re back on our feet.

I read your technician’s supply and demand report and it was quite a difficult read. There are many challenges. That being said, nearly a million new technologies could be needed by 2026. How does the industry do something like this? What steps need to be taken?

Jennifer Mayer: Well, I think TechForce decided that this would be the expansion of our mission in 2016, but we’ve always given grants and grants. We are probably one of the largest non-profit grant and grant organizations in the country. I’ve been doing this since 2007. In 2016 we said we had to do more because that’s one aspect of helping the kids through school, but it can’t be the only one. The problem is so wide and deep.

You actually have to do the training. We needed more storytelling about the opportunities for people hearing these are new collar careers, hearing voices from people who have spoken before them, and seeing themselves in the industry.

The second part, however, is that we need to get the kids hands-on again. It has changed again. It’s not the kids tinkering in the garage, maybe like the old days, they don’t have that exposure. Maybe we take them to car shows, races, auctions, NASCAR, NHRA, Monster Jams, whatever it is. Even AAPEX. It’s one of those things that now they don’t know what they don’t know. You have no tickets. You don’t have the money to buy these tickets. We bring them in and give them access, and then we introduce them to all our industry partners. This is where we need our industry partners to show up and help us get them to the door, give us tickets or whatever they are sponsoring.

Then the last part is scholarships and grants again. The students are at school, they need help. You have to look at that financial side and say that’s part of the equation. What we need to do to solve this whole lack is we need to welcome more into the industry. If they raise their hand and show interest, we must stay with them. They don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t know how to connect or navigate that. For this reason, TechForce has built an IT platform so that we can keep in touch with them.

How are you helping the industry meet the need for very specific types of technology in niche areas like electric vehicles and diesel?

Jennifer Mayer: Well, from a TechForce point of view, as a charity, we’re showing them the whole hodgepodge and what’s available. Our point is to introduce them and say that there are diesel technicians. There are charging station technicians, stationary engine technicians and agricultural machinery technicians. There’s cars and restoration, there’s motorsport, racing drag. Everything needs a technique to keep it moving. We are really concerned with the technical staff and their introduction.

So we have to make sure we go out there and try to make friends in all those places. What do we do and who do we know in the EV category? Who do we know in motorsport? We’re working really hard on that.

When you say it’s so wide and deep and ask what we’re going to do to fix it? Industry must get involved. You need to. To be honest, they are very sensitive at the moment.

These students need help. If there are organizations and charities like ours, then let’s work together and help these students get through this pipeline.

Mike Pessendo: There is a mystery in that we are actually car rental companies but the graduates went under. What’s going on there? They hire people before they graduate. In some cases, they hire them right out of high school, or maybe in high school. They hire people, but they’re so hungry for techs that they’re like, “I’ll take anyone and train them.”

A short-term solution? Maybe. But not the best in the long run. These technicians may never go back and get their proper training. I’m not talking about suitability. suitability. I’ve spoken to a number of employers and said, “No, we need that basic knowledge to be able to come out and know they have a good grasp of the basics, and then we can mold them into how we need them.”

How can the average general repair shop owner support these students who want to get into these areas without trying to rip them off before they can complete their full certification education, apprenticeship or whatever?

Jennifer Mayer: Create a career map for technicians in your location. This is information generation and they expect Google to find answers. They’re not just going to work blindly for you for five years and hope you’ll notice and promote them. This is not this generation. Being able to say, “Hey, if you can do the greasing and then the brakes, I’ll move you over here, or I’ll give you 50 cents more an hour,” but have a plan. It’s almost like a gaming culture. How do they level up? That’s how they think.

I think if the industry had more ways to tell them what they need to do to keep moving up, this generation would thirst for it. I think that would help them stay. TechForce is doing so much to try and get them into the industry. Just don’t knock them out the back door by not having a plan for them.

What does the short-term future look like for 2023? How does it look?

Jennifer Mayer: Well here’s what I would say is positive because in the supply and demand report the numbers aren’t pretty.

The pendulum swings when it comes to attitudes towards technical training and work. I talk everywhere, like Mom and Dad, small town, big city America. When I’m on a plane and I’m telling someone what I’m doing and I’m like, ‘Not every kid has to go to four-year college. We believe in technical training and craftsmanship,” beams every average Joe and has a story. It shows me that the pendulum is swinging away from this whole one-size-fits-all idea that everyone needs to go to college.

Well, the mounting debt and all that stuff that the general public is now becoming quite aware of. Now is the time to find students who say, “I’d like to do that instead.”

I think that’s the light at the end of the tunnel. If the industry is taking action now while it’s hot in people’s minds, that’s good. It will pass. That will go away and it won’t be the hot button anymore and we can’t ignore it.

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