Keep Learning… #Because I’m a Tech

Rising Technicians, a Tip for Success: Keep Learning

by Scott Miller, President & CEO, Interstate Batteries


The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the United States needs at least
120,000 new transportation technicians each year just to meet demand.


The automotive aftermarket is a $277B industry, growing since 2010 and predicted to continue. It’s fueled by consumers keeping their vehicles longer, putting more miles on them and needing more help when it comes to servicing them.


According to a recent IMR CCAMS study, only 53 percent of consumers answered that they had a repair done by a service professional within the last 12 months in 2008. In 2017, that number was up to 62 percent. This decrease in “Do It Yourself” behavior along with consumers generally keeping their vehicles longer than in years past, is keeping repair bays busy.


But aside from the usual demand for their services, there are some barriers to technicians’ ability to give their best service.


“Think about how you change a battery, something that used to be considered a simple job. Many that run in newer models aren’t even located under the hood. The list of what we at Interstate classify as “difficult to install” batteries grows each year as manufacturers move them to harder-to-reach spots to make room for performance-boosting gear.”


The first barrier to success: the entire automotive aftermarket industry is experiencing a shortage of technicians. At the same time, the number of cars per auto repair bay has grown from 167 to 228 since the year 2000, and that trend is projected to increase. So, the growing demand for service – combined with retiring technicians and people choosing to leave the industry – has created a “perfect storm” for a shortage.


With a deficit of qualified technicians, those currently working in the industry are crunched for time to handle the volume. In our 2017 World of Automotive Repair study, technicians listed time pressure as their No. 1 frustration. They feel rushed in their work, naturally leading to less attention to detail, poor communication and a less-than-satisfying customer experience.


“Technicians listed time
pressure as their No. 1 frustration”


The second barrier to success has a chance to become an opportunity to solve both problems. Technology plays an ever-growing role in how vehicles operate today, and requires more training from technicians than ever before. The technological, electrical, digital and problem-solving skills now required of technicians can appear to be obstacles to building manpower.


But that can be overcome: with training, development and continuing education to keep up with the industry’s exponential rate of change. Those investments can bring in new technician candidates and keep current technicians around longer, with the entire staff more qualified and satisfied in their jobs.


“The number of cars per auto repair bay has
grown from 167 to 228 since the year 2000”


Think about how you change a battery, something that used to be considered a simple job. Many that run in newer models aren’t even located under the hood. The list of what we at Interstate classify as “difficult to install” batteries grows each year as manufacturers move them to harder-to-reach spots to make room for performance-boosting gear.


Lucky for us, the “Do It For Me” mentality is not going away. As vehicles continue to grow more complex, the stronger the demand will be for quality technicians. With that said, it’ll be important as an industry that we share our knowledge — OEMs sharing important repair procedures, codes, etc., with aftermarket shops, and aftermarket shops sharing what works and doesn’t work with the manufacturers. This free flow of information will allow the industry to find the most efficient way to serve our customers and ease the time pressure technicians feel.


If I could give some advice to the current and future generation of technicians, I’d tell them:


1) Keep learning: Technologies are changing at an exponential speed. There’s no time to fall behind.


2) Stay current: Subscribe to blogs and publications to keep a pulse on the industry.


3) Market your shop: To stay competitive, shops have to promote themselves to the industry and consumers. If you don’t know how, partner with somebody who does, so you can compete with the national chains who have a lot of marketing power.


4) Use the shortage to your advantage: Be selective where you choose to work. Look for shops and dealers who promote learning, provide training and are great marketers. That’s where I’d want to work!


5) Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: The last thing anyone in our industry wants to do is make customers feel uncomfortable or think they’re being sold something they don’t need. It’s the little things that reinforce your customers’ trust.


Every industry has highs and lows. We can look at the technician shortage as a low, or see it as a chance to grow our skills to serve our customers better and welcome new and eager talent.

Scott Miller is President and CEO of Interstate Batteries.

New Collar Jobs Redefining Labor Day


New Collar Jobs Redefining Labor Day

TechForce Foundation launches – Because I’m a Tech campaign.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – August 27, 2018 — TechForce Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on championing students to and through their technical education and into careers as professional transportation technicians, has launched its Because I’m a Tech campaign (hashtag #becauseimatech) to coincide with Labor Day. The campaign is designed to educate teens and parents that there’s more than one road to success, that a technical education and career is a viable pathway to a rewarding future, and about the attractive opportunities of being a professional technician in America’s robust transportation industry.


Labor Day has long been celebrated as a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. However, over the years its true meaning has taken a backseat to rituals of shopping, backyard barbecues, and for many, simply celebrating the end of summer and preparing for a new school year.


While this trend can be seen as symbolic of the distracted times we live in, TechForce sees it as an opportunity to re-engage and re-activate a growing segment of Americans who’ve become weary and afraid of the changing workforce landscape as technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence become more prevalent. Simultaneously, people are seeing the skyrocketing costs of four year universities and financial aid turning higher education into a less viable option for long-term financial success and stability.


Perhaps most concerned about these trends are the segment of 35-50 year old women and men – mothers and fathers who are faced with the challenges of shaping and supporting the career aspirations of their teenage sons and daughters who are on the verge of making decisions that will heavily impact their own social and economic futures.


The Because I’m a Tech campaign is designed to:

  • connect students who are hands-on learners and problem-solvers, who love fixing and making things work, who have an affinity for computers, diagnostics and technology to an education and career that fits them;
  • teach parents and their teens about the social and economic achievements that can await them by pursuing a technical education and career as a professional, trained technician;
  • ease fears and help parents and influencers understand how and why these careers are no longer considered “blue collar,” but rather “new collar”;
  • show that technicians are not being replacedby automation and technology, but rather advanced by it;
  • let them see firsthand how realpeople are building rich and fulfilling lives BECAUSE THEY ARE TECHS. Videos at
  • demonstrate exactly where and how to start one’s own journey down this promising path by providing an actual “roadmap” to success. Downloadable maps at


According to Jennifer Maher, CEO/executive director of TechForce, “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 the outdated image of this profession, we can get more students interested in becoming technicians.”


The obsolete view of yesterday’s transportation careers had typecast them as low-tech “blue collar” jobs. The reality is the mechanic has been replaced by a highly trained technician, and the profession has evolved to high-tech, “new collar” careers where smart and talented individuals can find economic stability and personal fulfillment.


Well-intended educators and their incentives have done a disservice to our future workforce by positioning a four-year degree as the only road to a successful career (hashtag #morethanone). For some, technical schools are a better path and better aligned with their tactile (hands-on) knack for problem solving. Financial feasibility is also a significant factor in the current environment of skyrocketing college loan debt. Tech school graduates have considerably less educational debt and pay it off faster than their four-year counterparts. Technicians consistently report that they find their work much more fulfilling than they would if they were stuck at a traditional desk job.


High Tech and High Demand

The days of the “grease monkey” are long gone. Today’s vehicles have millions more lines of code than the spaceship that put man on the moon. Transportation techs are computer savvy and in demand. One out of every seven jobs in the U.S. is transportation related and there is a massive shortage of qualified technicians which means hiring demand is sky-high. Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the annual demand for new tech graduates is more than double the number that are graduating – essentially more than two new job openings to every one tech graduate.


About TechForce Foundation

TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with the mission to champion students to and through their technical education and into careers as professional auto, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle, motorsports, watercraft, welding and aviation technicians. The Foundation distributes more than $2.0 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

Photo and infographic preview available here.


Media Contacts

Mike Pressendo,, 602-363-8861

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




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