New TechForce Report Reveals Supply Shortage Growing, Unable to Match Pace with Demand

TechForce Report Reveals Growing Severity of the Supply Shortage in Vehicle Technicians

Gap between postsecondary graduate numbers and job openings continues to widen


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – June 26, 2018 — TechForce Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on championing and aiding aspiring transportation technicians has released a new report  — “Transportation Technician Supply Report” — that reveals the growing severity of the vehicle technician supply shortage.

Based on an analysis of National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) 2011-2016 data, TechForce found that postsecondary supply of new entrant vehicle technicians has not kept up with the spike in demand. Although the shortage has been ongoing, it became more severe in 2013 and the gap between supply and demand has continued to increase through the present. New entrant technicians are those needed to fill the growth in new positions in the occupation as well as replace those who leave the occupation. They are distinguished from experienced technicians who may move between employers but don’t add to the overall trained workforce in the occupation.

The report reveals that auto tech postsecondary completions have been declining since 2013. The supply of postsecondary auto graduates decreased by 1,829 completions in 2016 from 2012.  There were an estimated 38,829 graduates for 2016 in contrast to the projected Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) new entrant demand of 75,900.  Private sector institutions have experienced the greatest decline while public two-year institutions (primarily community colleges) have increased substantially.

The supply of collision technicians has been steadily declining over the past six years. Conversely, total postsecondary completions for diesel programs have increased over the same period.  The projected BLS new entrant demand for diesel technicians is 28,300 annually against a supply of 11,966 in 2016. For the collision market, the projected BLS annual new entrant demand is 17,200 technicians compared to supply of 5,791 completions in 2016.

As to what can be done to alleviate the supply shortage, Jennifer Maher, CEO/executive director of TechForce said, “Our country and education system have divested in high school auto shops and stigmatized trade school education which is killing the trades. A big part of the problem is the outdated image of the ‘grease monkey’ mechanic that students and their parents, teachers and counselors may have. Today’s techs are well paid, highly skilled, hands-on problem solvers who are not burdened by massive school debt like their four-year school counterparts. As we change this image we can get more students interested in becoming technicians.”

Doug Young, co-author of the report and managing director of Wilcap L.L.C, said, “Changing perceptions will require building a pipeline into the industry—before parents and students have committed to ‘college for all,’ before students have decided that they aren’t interested in STEM subjects in high school, and before the old perceptions eliminate any interest among parents and career counselors in learning more about the opportunities in the transportation technician occupations.”

Greg Settle, the other co-author of the report and TechForce’s director of national initiatives, said, “With only a small percentage of students interested in going into a skilled trade versus seeking a college degree, the competition among all the skilled trades for those students is fierce. If you look at auto technicians, they can make a very solid, middle-class income. However, starting wages for auto technicians are among the lowest across the skilled trades, and that is often what young and men and women will focus on when making a career decision. Add to that the fact that entry-level technicians are expected to arrive at their first job with their own tools and it does not make the career very attractive, compared with other choices.”

According to Maher, “Without some form of focused, collective action, the transportation industry will continue to suffer from inadequately financed, fragmented efforts to solve these problems.  A solution requires pooling resources and consistent public messaging to change perceptions and build a talent pipeline. TechForce Foundation is dedicated to providing the collective source of action to solve the root causes of the problem.”

This report, along with last year’s demand report, are examples of how TechForce works to create awareness of the problem, provide credible data to support the industry’s claims, and with even greater industry participation, improve the range and quality of these services.

Funding for the report was provided by TechForce donors, including Advance Auto Parts, Autoshop Solutions, AutoZone, Babcox Media, Bridgestone Retail Operations, Cengage, General Motors, George Arrants Enterprises, Interstate Batteries, Nissan North America, Manheim, Shell Lubricants, Snap-on, S/P2, Sunstate Equipment, Toyota Foundation, Universal Technical Institute, Valvoline, WD-40 and 10 Missions Media.

About TechForce Foundation

TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with the mission to champion students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians in the transportation industry. The Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants annually, thanks to its generous corporate sponsors and donors, and is spearheading FutureTech Success™, the industry-wide initiative to help encourage and support more young people to pursue the vehicle technician profession. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Mike Pressendo,, 602-363-8861

Jennifer Maher, Executive Director,, 602-550-0371


TechForce Announces $10,000 Brienne Davis Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to Angelina who was awarded a $10,000 NASCAR / Brienne Davis Memorial Tuition Scholarship.


Ever since Angelina was a little girl, her family would travel 10 hours to ride sand rails in the desert. Together, with her grandparents and father, they assembled a soap box car from scratch; racing it for four years.

“My dream is to be able to combine my hobby with my career.”

At the age of 14, Angelina began racing quarter midget cars, developing interest and understanding for maintaining all aspects of proper vehicle care. As her passion for riding and working on quads continued, Angelina began racing Micro-Sprint cars through sponsorships from local businesses. Every weekend, Angelina can be found either racing or helping other race teams win. She mentors 5-13 year old kids about the basics of racing, from safety, to changing tires and driving.

“My dream is to be able to combine my hobby with my career. My end goal is to be a part of NASCAR, either as a driver or part of a team. Being a racer myself, I can understand the dedication and commitment it takes to excel in either. To impact the industry, I plan to be a successful woman in a male-dominated field. I want to be respected and make a contribution in a career that I will enjoy.”

Angelina’s career path into technical education embodies her motorsports passion. However, it took some convincing of her parents who anticipated Angelina would attend nursing school. She researched careers in NASCAR to discover that Universal Technical Institute (UTI) had the only NASCAR sponsored program in the entire United States. After conducting her research, Angelina made an appointment with her parents to visit the Sacramento campus. “They were so impressed with my determination and with UTI that I withdrew from school and signed up for UTI.”

Through the assistance of the Brienne Davis Memorial Tuition Scholarship, Angelina is turning her dream into a reality. Following her true calling and having the support from her family, Angelina will surely make great contributions and a serve as a role model for future women technicians.



TechForce Foundation Honors Terry Emig’s Legacy

Terry Emig, much-beloved colleague and former director of motorsports and event marketing at Universal Technical Institute (UTI), is also the namesake of TechForce Foundation’s Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award, established in 2017 by his most ardent admirers, Nancy Bruner of Shell Lubricants and Kim McWaters of UTI.

Terry Emig Sculpture | TechForce
Limited edition, petite bronze entitled Warrior of Light is available to $1,000+ donors to the Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award, in memory of Terry.


Before Terry’s recent and poignant passing, a limited-edition, petite bronze sculpture of hands holding a flame was commissioned by TechForce and created by Montana artist Pamela Harr of Bridger Bronze, Inc. The piece was inspired both by the nickname “Warrior of Light” given to Terry by Nancy Bruner (inspired by Paulo Coelho’s “Warrior of the Light: A Manual,” a book that invites us to live out our dreams, embrace the uncertainty of life and rise to our own unique destiny) in recognition of Terry’s unwavering support for those who love working with their hands and how he always brought his special light to the world in service of others.

Terry Emig Scholarship | Graduation | TechForceThe Emig family has asked that any donations in Terry’s honor be made either to the Gateway for Cancer Research, a charity partner of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, or to TechForce Foundation’s Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award.

As a remembrance for donations of $1,000 or more to the Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award, donors may receive a limited edition of the Warrior of Light sculpture.

The Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award has already awarded and helped more than six students with more than $25,000 in financial awards since 2017, students who were interviewed and hand-selected by Terry himself.  We are honored to share that Nancy Bruner and Terry’s daughter, Ashley Emig Short, will continue to serve on the review committee for the awards going forward.

To contribute to TechForce’s Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award, either make a secure donation online at:  (select “Area of Greatest Need” from the drop down menu and type “Terry Emig” in the Additional Comments area) –or– send checks to: TechForce Foundation, 12621 N. Tatum Blvd #304 Phoenix, AZ 85032 (please state in the check note section “Terry Emig” and your phone number).  TechForce will contact donors in excess of $1,000 to arrange delivery of the Warrior of Light sculpture.

Please share your contact details and a TechForce team member will contact you.

"By connecting students, instructors, industry pros and working techs, the TechForce Foundation provides unilateral support to the transportation industry’s technician recruiting needs… The administration of our Scholarships by the TechForce team has been instrumental in delivering us with a successful method to gain interest from qualified candidates as well as provide our students with additional assistance to complete their education."
Tony Farr
Ford Technical Programs Manager