An acute and growing shortage of service technicians is pushing franchised dealerships to act creatively to develop talent. Dealerships are working with local colleges on training programs and looking for candidates among groups that have often been excluded.
Charles Maund Toyota of Austin, Texas, is helping to train one of those groups: homeless people.
The dealership is partnering with Community First! Village, which provides permanent housing and jobs to once-chronically homeless Austinites. Residents of the 51-acre community can find jobs at its onsite businesses, including Community First! Car Care, which opened in November.
Although the dealership has offered to hire graduates of the training program as lube techs, for now the priority is enabling the trainees to operate Car Care.
Charles Maund Toyota renovated a two-car garage to become the shop. It supplied lifts and tools, investing around $30,000 in the project. Rey Cantu, the dealership's assistant service manager, says the investment is paying off.
"After working with the individuals [at Car Care], talking to them and seeing what they've accomplished, you see the end result and you know the program works," Cantu told Fixed Ops Journal.