If new-vehicle dealers expect fixed operations to generate most of their future profits, they should be deeply involved in educating the next generation of technicians who will staff their service and collision departments.
That's the message from educators and industry trade groups that see more baby boomer techs hanging up their wrenches and fewer newcomers stepping up to replace them.
A new report by the TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes careers in automotive tech, paints a grim picture: Colleges and trade schools are turning out far fewer service technicians than the industry needs.
The report concludes that most of the decline has occurred at for-profit technical schools, some of which have endured financial problems in recent years. Overall enrollment in auto tech programs at public community colleges has increased, the study notes.
Front-line educators, industry leaders and the TechForce report cite similar reasons for declining interest among young people in careers as service techs:
- Fewer high schools offer auto tech programs because of the cost.
- Fewer students want to work with their hands.
- Their parents don't see a bright future for the job.
- The starting pay is often low.
- Most newcomers must provide their own expensive tools.