An industry group has enlisted the U.S. military to help car dealers combat a shortage of auto service technicians.
Automotive Retailing Today, a nonprofit trade group, is promoting veterans as job candidates for dealerships in a campaign called "Hire the Heroes." The group is a consortium of auto manufacturers, dealers and dealer associations.
The campaign was launched at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas, which ends Tuesday, Feb. 3.
The industry faces a shortage of about 35,000 technicians, and many veterans have the aptitude and training to work in the service lane.
"These soldiers are some of the most highly trained technicians in their field," says Kurt Schultz, chief warranty officer with the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Mechanical Maintenance School.
"Hire the Heroes" has produced a flier suggesting ways for dealers to recruit former military personnel as technicians. Among the ideas are free job postings on military Web sites and military placement contacts.
Schultz and other military officers distributed the handout during the convention and answered questions in the NADA exhibit area about how to hire veterans. The handout information also will be sent in an e-mail to NADA members.
The Veterans Administration already promotes careers in vehicle repair, providing free Automotive Service Excellence certification for veterans.
"The Army uses ASE certifications in its professional development models for mechanics, and we award promotion points for ASE and other civilian technical certifications, as well," Schultz says.
ASE refers to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an independent nonprofit organization that tests and certifies auto mechanics.
Schultz says a military background molds good employees because soldiers are trained to be mission-oriented, to show up on time and to respect authority.