TechForce Campaign Focuses On Increasing The Number Of Qualified Technicians

TechForce Campaign Focuses On Increasing The Number Of Qualified Technicians

The campaign, FutureTech Success, aims to 1) give middle- and high-school students, parents and influencers the tools and experiences to recognize and foster tactile intelligence, 2) help reposition the image of the profession; and 3) help the industry speak with a collective voice with regard to its workforce development needs.

TechForce Foundation, a non-profit organization championing and aiding aspiring vehicle technicians, has launched a first of its kind campaign to help provide an ongoing stream of qualified technicians to North American vehicle repair businesses.

Created by Greg Settle, TechForce director of national initiatives, and Jennifer Maher, TechForce CEO and executive director, the campaign is called FutureTech Success. Its purpose is threefold: 1) to give middle- and high-school students, parents and influencers the tools and experiences to recognize and foster tactile intelligence, 2) to help reposition the image of the profession; and 3) to help the industry speak with a collective voice with regard to its workforce development needs.

To the first point, Settle said, “Our goal is to identify and provide naturally talented tactile learners with the after school programs, clubs and activities, mentors and experiences that allow them to engage with the highly advanced and rapidly expanding world of vehicle technology so they — and their parents and influencers — understand there are prosperous technical career opportunities that they may not have considered.”

To help drive the campaign to students, parents and influencers, TechForce created a website — futuretechsuccess.org — that contains all of the pertinent information needed for students to ascertain their interest and aptitude for a technical career. To assist students in their quest to become technicians, a number of resources are presented, including after school and summer camp programs, a listing of technical schools, available internships and scholarships, a job board, needed certifications, industry events and industry associations.

Also, through the FutureTech Success campaign, TechForce will serve as the “collective hub,” harnessing the myriad of excellent resources that exist throughout the industry, collecting, packaging and presenting them in a one-stop-shop microsite that speaks to future techs and their parents, school counselors, youth directors and other influencers.

Another feature on the site is a bank of videos featuring successful professionals sharing their technical experiences and insights. Likewise, students share their own stories, and also have the opportunity to join the FutureTech Success community.

The campaign’s second purpose is to help right a wrong that has existed for decades, that is, the “grease monkey” image. “Not that this image was ever deserved, but today it is simply absurd,” said Maher. “The complexity of today’s vehicles rival some of the most sophisticated aircraft — and the technical and computer knowledge, as well as the tactile and STEM skills required to work on them, is truly amazing.”

Maher said that striving to be a vehicle technician today is hardly a “fall back” career. Rather, it is a desirable profession with readily available and unlimited opportunities that cut across several market segments ranging from automotive, motorcycles, motorsports and boats to medium- and heavy-duty trucks to collision repair and the massive machinery used in construction, mining and agriculture.

“What everyone knew anecdotally — that there is a tech shortage — was recently confirmed in a report authored by Settle and Doug Young, managing director of his own strategy consulting company, Wilcap LLC. Called “Transportation Technician New Entrant Demand,” the report revealed that new Bureau of Labor Statistics’ average annual new entrant demand over the next 10 years is projected to be 75,900 auto technicians, 28,300 diesel techs and 17,200 collision techs, which is more than triple previous estimates.

“Not only is there a tech shortage, it’s much worse than we thought,” said Settle. “That being the case, the opportunities abound in this industry.” The opportunity story speaks to the campaign’s third point: getting everyone in the industry on board to speak with a collective voice. Fortunately, that is already taking place with 14 corporations signing on as partners to the campaign: Advance Auto Parts, Autoshop Solutions, AutoZone, Babcox Media, Bridgestone Retail Operations, Cengage, General Motors, George Arrant Enterprises, Interstate Batteries, Nissan North America, Snap-on, Shell Lubricants, S/P2, Sunstate Equipment, 10 Missions Media and Universal Technical Institute.

Moreover, a growing number of high profile industry associations are supporting the effort. Presently, on board: the Auto Care Association, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association (AMRA), Arkansas Trucking Association, the Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC), the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), Skills- USA, Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES), Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) and the American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC).

Also, through the FutureTech Success campaign, TechForce will serve as the “collective hub,” harnessing the myriad of excellent resources that exist throughout the industry, collecting, packaging and presenting them in a one-stop-shop microsite that speaks to future techs and their parents, school counselors, youth directors and other influencers.

In the near future TechForce will launch I-Hub, a resource hub for industry, so that best practices to attract, develop, train, hire, recruit and retain technicians can be shared by all.

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