The National Automobile Dealers Association is launching an initiative that focuses on promoting dealership careers. The job of the service technician is one of the first that NADA will highlight in its program, set to debut next year.
"As automotive technology continues to get more and more complex, technician jobs may need the STEM classification, which may help with funding for training programs as well as candidate recruitment," says Jonathan Collegio, NADA's senior vice president for public affairs.
"This is one of the things the NADA Foundation and some state associations will be investigating as we roll out the initiative," Collegio adds.
During my visit with Nissan service executives here last month, I watched some of the automaker's in-house master techs, who work with technicians at Nissan and Infiniti dealerships, use many of the skills that a STEM-based education would provide.
Looking over the courses taught by Universal Technical Institute and other automotive technician training schools, I find few offerings beyond dealing with mechanical or electrical systems in vehicles.
The Nissan technical specialists I spent the day with agree that tomorrow's service techs are going to need to be better thinkers and communicators.
They will use a variety of advanced tools to solve complex technical problems.
It's precisely the type of career for which a STEM-based education is designed to prepare students.