The nationwide shortage of automobile service technicians continues to escalate and handicap our business. Efforts by the National Automobile Dealers Association, dealer groups and manufacturers to address the causes of the shortage are having limited success.
There was a time when manufacturers had traveling auto shows, race teams and how-to clinics at dealerships across the country. These exciting events were well publicized. They need to be modernized, perhaps to allude to the connectivity of cellphones with vehicles and the power that computers have brought to modern vehicles.
The excitement of alternative powertrains, new designs and materials and the technology to service these vehicles could excite young people who are interested in working in high-tech fields and the computer world — if we get the information to them.
We wonder how we can present our story to school administrators and counselors who appear predisposed to steering kids to college prep courses, ignoring tremendous opportunities in the trades. How can we speak with students in middle school, not just high school, about the satisfaction, rewards and benefits of solving automotive service concerns, helping to build customer retention and contributing to a successful entity?
Solutions require investment. Asking any business to spend money is typically not met with great enthusiasm unless it correlates to a return on that investment.
When costs are calculated from lost and unhappy customers, lost revenue from parts and service and the time managers spend recruiting, training and appeasing unhappy techs who know they are impossible to replace, there is a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs who can solve the puzzle.
MARK PORCARO, Adjunct Instructor, Automotive Technology, Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pa.
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