When I started in this business counting inventory at the auto parts store 45 years ago, I did it because I loved cars. Yes, I do have 10W-40 in my veins, a gear-driven pump for a heart and brake shoes for feet. I have never left the industry because I am passionate about it. My mind just seems to gravitate toward machines and the automobile really makes it spin.
In that, I wasn’t alone. Who can remember when auto dealers would put up the brown wrapping paper on the showroom windows to hide the upcoming new models? It would happen about every fall and it caused a lot of excitement. I met a man several years ago in Iowa whose father ordered one of the 300 1953 Corvettes. He was a medical student at the time and, by some stroke of luck, he got the one the dealer was receiving. The car was brought in by rail in the middle of the night so it would not be seen. Even in the middle of the night there were still more than 20 people on hand when the car arrived. Now that is passion.
It was part of our time then. People wanted the cars and were excited to work on them. Fast forward 50-plus years and things have changed. Vehicles are important but not the center of our lives or our younger generations’. Also, the fever to work on them and be a part of the industry has faded.
This needs to change. This is a great industry that is not going anywhere soon. There are 240 million-plus vehicles on the road and they need to be maintained, and it is a number that continues to steadily grow every year whether the economy is up or down. Slow, steady growth makes for a great career.
Never has the time been better for a young person to come enter the industry than right now. We are still growing and, due to the imbalance in our aging senior leadership, there are going to be lots of options. They can study whatever business or technical discipline they want, but bring it here to utilize it on a daily basis.
A few years ago, we started AftermarketJobs.com and Auto Care Career Hub to assist individuals interested in our industry in finding a career. It made sense since there was no one else doing it specifically for our space. When the Auto Care Association decided to apply resources to recruiting young people to our industry last year, we knew it would make sense to work together.
The new site, autocarecareers.org, provides excellent guidance for those who want to learn about our industry and all of its opportunities. Babcox Media has merged our existing job sites with theirs so there is one common site to go to for the industry. Other organizations and associations also have joined forces with this site to add even further depth to its reach. It is an exciting effort and all of us in the industry need to support and promote its presence. I encourage you to check it out for yourself.
As I said in the title, it all makes sense, now we just have to use it.