Rising Technicians, a Tip for Success: Keep Learning

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.

Under The Hood | October 2021

TOPICS IN UNDER THE HOOD FOR OCTOBER 2021:

Techs Rock Awards | Stacey David | Driven To Care | TechForce Training Video | Roger Penske Outstanding Student Award | TechForce Trivia | Women Techs Rock GM Technician

2021 Techs Rock Awards are less than 2 weeks away!

TRA 2021_Awards Full Logo_Dark TextWe’re excited to announce nominations for the 3rd annual Techs Rock Awards will be open from 10/25/2021 to 11/10/21! Help us celebrate the nation’s most accomplished transportation technicians. Submit nominations starting Monday 10/25 at TechForce.org/TechsRock!

Help spread the word in the meantime by sharing the flyers in the “Free Marketing” section of the TechForce I-HUB Resource Portal>>

 
 
 
 
 

TODAY: Learn all about this amazing ride with Stacey David

Mecum walk around_Mercury Cougar_211013Don’t miss today’s exclusive, free online event! Spend some time with the one and only Stacey David, TV Host & Car Builder, as he gives a personal walkaround of his 1967 Mercury Cougar. The event is hosted by Mecum Auction and TechForce Foundation, and will be streamed live from Mecum Chattanooga. Tune in today Thursday, Oct 14 at 6 PM EDT/ 3 PM PDT here>>

Don’t miss a single free, exciting event! Join TechForce’s social network>>
 
 
 
 
 

Students participate in Driven to Care VIP experience at Autobahn

Autobahn event_weinberger ferari-3John F. Weinberger Driven to Care Legacy Fund (part of the Footprints Foundation) and TechForce teamed up to host more than 20 students for a day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois. Students were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility and garages, speakers who shared information on automotive and racing technician careers, and given hot laps around the track. Special thanks to Autobahn, Lisa Weinberger and Continental Motors for making the event possible. Find upcoming events and apply for scholarships through JoinTechForce.org

 
 
 
 
 
 

Brush up with training in TechForce’s social network

hybrid trainingCan you easily explain how an electrical system works? Are you up to date on hybrid engines? Do you know how automated vehicles stay on the road? Stay up to date on advancing vehicle technology with free training from Advance Auto Parts, Cengage, Shell, WD-40, GM and other TechForce partners. Simply join TechForce’s peer network to get started>>
 
 
 
 
 

Marine Corps veteran receives Roger Penske Outstanding Student Award

Luis Menjivar Diaz_1089557-1

Congratulations to the Roger Penske Outstanding Student Award winner, Luis Menjivar Diaz! A United States Marine Corps veteran, Luis has overcome every challenge life has thrown at him, never missing an opportunity to give back along the way. TechForce is proud to help him pursue his dream of becoming a Master Technician.

Learn how TechForce scholarships can help you with your technician training at JoinTechForce.org

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Compete against other TechForce members with trivia & contests

peer network triviaClimb the leaderboard in TechForce’s social network by playing trivia, competing in contests and more! Your point totals will be shown against other users in the network. You could even be named the next TechForce champion! Join the only social network built for aspiring and working techs to get started>>

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

#WomenTechsRock – “Alright let’s get this done”

WTR_TFN_Brooke_Fabian_1600x900_100T_211013

“I’m always learning stuff, it’s exciting… [everyone around me] is very proud of me.” GM technician
Brooke Fabian loves what she does, and knows the power of believing in yourself. Hear Brooke’s story in this week’s #WomenTechsRock interview>>

Would you or a technician you know like to be featured in our #WomenTechsRock interview series? Let us know>>
 
 
 
 
 

TechForce salutes 10 Missions Media on the ADAPT Summit

adapt conference stage-2TechForce recognizes our partner 10 Missions Media for organizing the ADAPT: Automotive Technology Summit (Dec 5-7, 2021) to support independent shops. The Summit is a forum for the automotive aftermarket that gives the resources, knowledge and strategies to overcome the obstacles you’ll face moving forward. Learn more about ADAPT>>

 

Thank you to all TechForce Foundation partners!

TFF-ALL-Partners-Logo-Lockup-210921Associations: Automotive Communications Council, Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA), American Rental Association (ARA), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Automotive Service Association (ASA), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), ASE Education Foundation, ASE Training Managers Council (ATMC), Auto Care Association/Women in Auto Care, Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA), Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR), Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence, National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada (NAACC), National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), National Center for Autonomous Technology (NCAT), SkillsUSA, STEAM Sports Foundation and American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC)

Celebrities: Charles Sanville (The Humble Mechanic), Lyn St. James (IndyCar), Bogi Lateiner (Girl Gang Garage), Steve Johnson (Steve Johnson Racing – NHRA) and Julia Landauer (Julia Landauer Racing – NASCAR)

Under The Hood | September 2021

TOPICS IN UNDER THE HOOD FOR SEPTEMBER 2021:

Because I’m A Tech Stories | Transportation Technician Careers | Nominations For 2021 Techs Rock Awards Open | Women Techs Rock – Josie Whitlock | Shop Owner Luke Walker Pays It Forward | Car Industry Events in TechForce | Technician Scholarship Story From Derrick | Name Of Your Ride Using Song Lyrics

Thank you to all who shared their “Because I’m a Tech…” story

Thank you to all who shared their “Because I’m a Tech…” story2020-08_Ultimate Guide TransTech Careers_Cover image

We asked and you answered! Thank you to every transportation technician who shared what they have been able to accomplish because they’re a tech. TechForce reached tens of millions of Americans with accurate representations of technician careers as the secure, high-tech, “new collar” careers that they are. Help correct misperceptions held by people in your circle by sharing our Ultimate Guide to Transportation Technician Careers>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nominations for the 2021 Techs Rock Awards open next month

TRA 2021_Awards Full Logo_Dark Text

We’re excited to announce nominations for the 3rd annual Techs Rock Awards will be open from 10/25/2021 to 11/10/21! Help us celebrate the nation’s most accomplished transportation technicians. Spread the word to drive nominations by sharing the flyers, ads and other assets in the “FutureTech Success® Free Marketing” section of the TechForce I-HUB Resource Portal>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Women Techs Rock: Josie’s story proves the value of mentorship

WTR_Josie_Whitlock_Square_100T_210914

Meet Josie Whitlock, a technician with Matt’s Automotive Service Center in Fargo, North Dakota. Josie’s time at Matt’s is proof that a shop’s culture starts at the top. The owner makes respect a top priority, even going so far as to refuse customers who don’t want a woman to work on their car! The result? A shop that fully accepts women techs. Read Josie’s full interview to learn more>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

See where TechForce’s Career Hub can take you

Welcome-Career-Hub_LI_1200x675_210720With the Career Hub in TechForce’s network, you can create and manage your resume and find the right job for you! Whether you’re looking to get your start or searching for the next step in your career, you will find what you need with Career Hub in TechForce’s network. Create your free account or log in to get started>>
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Part II: Technician and shop owner Luke Walker pays it forward

Luke Walker headshot - Jul2021-2-1TechForce’s blog introduced readers to Luke Walker, an energetic and highly motivated entrepreneur in Columbus, Ohio who built a fledging one-stall independent shop into a well-oiled machine. This month, we continue his incredible story by sharing how Luke is giving back and supporting students in his community>>
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

TechForce is the place to find events

Screen Shot 2021-09-15 at 3.14.10 PMAre you looking for something to do? Check out the events tab in TechForce’s social network. Whether you want to make industry connections, learn, or just have fun TechForce has something for you! Log in to explore events like UTI’s free Power & Performance Workshop at JoinTechForce.org>>
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Pursuing your passion with TechForce scholarships

Derrick Graham_2037178766 (2)Congratulations to diesel technician student Derrick Graham on receiving a TechForce Foundation scholarship! Derrick says, “I have loved semi-trucks for as long as I can remember. I wanted to learn as much about them as I could. My passion is the diesel engine.” Sound like you? Find a career that fits with scholarships, e-learning and resources through TechForce’s network>>
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bring the repair bay into the classroom with T2U!

T2U GraphicTomorrow’s Technician University (T2U) is a free, interactive learning management system designed for high school and college-level students in technical programs. Registered instructors and students gain access to hours of instructional videos, quizzes and tests produced by both ASE certified technicians and leading automotive aftermarket brands. New courses are added monthly, with topics ranging from data bus diagnostic and meter usage to hybrid repair. See current T2U course offerings here>>
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Something fun… What song lyrics best describe your ride?

Lyrics Contest HeaderWe know some of our favorite songs are all about working in the garage, racing with our friends, or just cruising down the highway. We want to hear yours! Tell us what your favorite song lyrics about your vehicle is for a chance to win points in the TechForce network. Enter the contest at JoinTechForce.org>>

 

Thank you to all TechForce Foundation partners!

TFF-ALL-Partners-Logo-Lockup-210921Associations: Automotive Communications Council, Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA), American Rental Association (ARA), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Automotive Service Association (ASA), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), ASE Education Foundation, ASE Training Managers Council (ATMC), Auto Care Association/Women in Auto Care, Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA), Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR), Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence, National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada (NAACC), National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), National Center for Autonomous Technology (NCAT), SkillsUSA, STEAM Sports Foundation and American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC)

Celebrities: Charles Sanville (The Humble Mechanic), Lyn St. James (IndyCar), Bogi Lateiner (Girl Gang Garage), Steve Johnson (Steve Johnson Racing – NHRA) and Julia Landauer (Julia Landauer Racing – NASCAR)

The Ultimate Guide to Transportation Technician Careers

The Ultimate Guide to Transportation Technician Careers

A passion for cars, trucking and heavy equipment, motorcycles, or boats can now easily turn into a lucrative and successful career.

In our Roadmap guide, The Ultimate Guide to Transportation Technician Careers, we discuss how careers in the transportation field have experienced continued growth and how this industry is fast becoming a desirable place to work with all sorts of advanced technology.

Download the guide to learn about the wide variety of options for a career in transportation tech, including:

  • The different sectors within the transportation industry
  • The types of jobs that are out there
  • What skills are needed
  • Average salary ranges for each position

Download the Roadmap ebook guide today by filling out the form HERE.

Under The Hood | May 2021

TOPICS IN UNDER THE HOOD FOR MAY 2021:

FutureTechs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner | The Humble Mechanic Partners With TechForce | Scholarship: Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award | WD-40 Virtual Event | SunState Continues To Support TechForce | Donate Your Car To Support Technicians | TechForce Peer Network | TMCSuperTech Augmented Reality Game | Cars Yeah! Podcast with Jen Maher | Garage Guru Scholarship Available.
 
 
 

2021 FutureTechs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner

2021 FTR_Grand Prize Graphic@3x-1Congratulations to 2021 FutureTechs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner Zander Worm, representing the Motorsports category of the Awards. Zander is a high-school student from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, who is determined to one day lead Chevrolet’s Corvette team.

2021 was the biggest FutureTechs Rock Awards yet, and we thank everyone who made this year’s Awards possible. Students were nominated from 39 states, 40% of this year’s finalists and runners up were women and more than $14,500 in prizes are being distributed. Learn more about the Awards and this year’s winners here>>

 

 

 

 
 
 

The Humble Mechanic joins the workforce development campaign

the humble mechanic-1TechForce Foundation is excited to welcome Charles Sanville, AKA The Humble Mechanic as our newest celebrity ambassador! Charles Sanville is a certified Master Volkswagen Technician with over 10 years of experience. The Humble Mechanic YouTube channel features informative, accessible and fun videos about cars, parts and the technician career. Learn more about The Humble Mechanic here>>

 
 
 
 

Scholarship Highlight: Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award Winner

Emig Hero Spirit Awardee_Hunter_210509-1

Congratulations to Hunter Nelson, the most recent recipient of the Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award! An Eagle Scout and UTI student, Hunter plans to use his automotive technology education to become a Porsche technician.

Learn more about TechForce Foundation scholarships and start your application in our peer network today at JoinTechForce.org>>
 
 
 
 

Virtual Event: WD-40 CEO to discuss impact of learning organizations on 5/26

UtH_WD-40 webinar bannerDon’t miss the opportunity to learn from CEO and Chairman of the WD-40 Company Garry Ridge and world renowned executive coach Dr. Marshall Goldsmith on May 26 at 1:30 PM EDT/ 10:30 AM PDT!

These industry leaders will host a webinar explaining how WD-40 Company evolved into a learning organization, and how learning moments can drive positive changes in your organization. The event is hosted by TechForce partners WD-40 Company and S/P2 Training, as well as the American Safety Council. Learn more and register here>>
 
 
 

Longtime TechForce partner Sunstate Equipment renews commitment

UtH_Sunstate check-1

TechForce Foundation thanks Sunstate Equipment, a long-time partner in our workforce development campaign, for their recent donation. Sunstate’s contribution includes $25,000 in support of TechForce’s general mission, and an additional $10,000 to fund our veteran-specific programs. Learn more about Sunstate Equipment here>>

 
 
 
 

Support technician students: Donate your vehicle to TechForce

Five Fixers Technicians-155Donate your car, RV or boat to TechForce Foundation to support students in their education and careers as professional auto, diesel, collision, aviation, and other transportation technicians. Your car donation will fund the technical education and careers of future technicians. Donate a car, RV, boat or other vehicle today by calling 1-877-957-2277 or clicking here>>
 
 
 

Join the world’s only peer network dedicated to future and working technicians

2021-04_Join TechForce_TFC Ignite

Are you on TechForce yet? Experience the world’s first and only peer network 100% dedicated to future and working technicians! Connect with other students, educators and working techs, compete in daily trivia and other fun challenges, and find events, trainings, scholarships and more. Join TechForce today>>

 
 
 
 

TMC releases augmented reality game to attract new technicians

UtH_TMC SUPERTECH-1TMCSuperTech is an augmented reality game that lets you progress through a career as a technician in the trucking industry. Start as a trainee and level up to full-time tech to customize the trucks in your garage. Do your job and do it well, and you will graduate from Full-Time Technician to the Owner of the shop itself! Learn about the app>>
 
 
 
 
 

Catch up with TechForce Foundation on the CarsYeah! Podcast

UtH CarsYeah_Jennifer-Maher-1

Have you heard TechForce Foundation CEO Jennifer Maher’s interview on the Cars Yeah! Podcast? Listen to catch up on some exciting updates from TechForce Foundation, including how you can join the world’s first peer network for future and working technicians. Listen here>>
 
 
 
 
 

Thank you to WrenchNation’s Frank Leutz and Desert Car Care

UtH_Desert Car CareTechForce Foundation staff recently dropped by to say thank you to WrenchNation host Frank Leutz and the entire Desert Car Care of Chandler team for their outstanding support. TechForce joined Desert Car Care for lunch, a tour of the shop and to brainstorm ways to further serve student technicians. Learn more about Wrench Nation here>>
 
 
 

Reminder: Garage Guru Scholarships closing 5/31

2021-03_Garage Guru scholarships_Garage Guru logo-1Garage Gurus’ has extended the deadline for their annual scholarship through May 31, 2021. The scholarship is open to high school and post-secondary students pursuing an automotive technician education. Twelve students will be awarded up to $2,500 each to help support their educational expenses! Learn more and apply here>>

Thank you to all TechForce Foundation partners!

2021-04_TFF ALL Partners Logo Lockup 210409Associations: Automotive Communications Council, Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA), American Rental Association (ARA), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Automotive Service Association (ASA), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), ASE Education Foundation, ASE Training Managers Council (ATMC), Auto Care Association/Women in Auto Care, Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA), Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR), Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence, National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada (NAACC), National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), National Center for Autonomous Technology (NCAT), SkillsUSA, STEAM Sports Foundation and American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC)

Celebrities: Charles Sanville (The Humble Mechanic), Lyn St. James (IndyCar), Bogi Lateiner (Girl Gang Garage), Steve Johnson (Steve Johnson Racing – NHRA) and Julia Landauer (Julia Landauer Racing – NASCAR)

For more news on TechForce Foundation, follow us on social media at the links below!

 

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Your Guide to Apprenticeships

This article originally appeared on April 3, 2018 in Ratchet+Wrench; written by Travis Bean.


A fully realized apprenticeship program involves higher-level thinking on the shop owner’s part. Here’s how to build that program, step by step.

 

As Sarah Price and Cindy Weinberg take their turns at the podium, they address the store managers, the mentors, the company’s CEO in attendance.

Oh, and we can’t forget the most important guests: the employees who have just graduated from Virginia Tire & Auto’s apprenticeship program.

“My message to everyone is to keep learning,” Weinberg says, thinking back on that day. “The learning is never over.”

“I tell them that they accomplished this goal,” Price adds, “and they are going to have many more goals to accomplish.”

You’ll note a core message shared between the training manager (Price) and director of talent development (Weinberg) just before they hand out graduation certificates to the former apprentices: there’s a culture of learning at Virginia Tire & Auto. In order for the 13-location auto repair business to cultivate lifelong employees, its apprenticeship program must do more than coach young technicians and service advisors on the basics of the business—it must present auto repair as a viable, fulfilling career.

And that’s where apprenticeship programs trip many shop owners up, says Wayne Martella. With two apprentices always on rotation between his four AAMCO shops in Mesa, Ariz., he knows how difficult it can be to not only oversee an apprenticeship, but also to ensure mentees are getting the full picture of the industry, and ensure that mentors are properly cultivating future leaders. From the moment apprentices walk into your shop to the moment they become full-time professionals, you must build a foundation for them to thrive.

Luckily, if you follow advice from people well versed in the practice, you’ll be ready to build a better future for your shop—a better future for the industry.

 

Part 1: Create a Funnel

 

If the automotive repair industry categorizes wannabe professionals as hindrances, it won’t truly connect with those interested in a career—a truth the TechForce Foundation deeply understands.

Jennifer Maher is the CEO of TechForce, a nonprofit that guides students through a technical education into the automotive industry. She’s seen firsthand how apprenticeships are an important component of an evolving, growing business—but she’s also witnessed why many of them fail:

“You can’t just set up a program and expect people to walk in.”

While there are currently 5.8 million unfilled trade openings in this country (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), Dr. Sally Downey says a proper education funnel can reverse that trend. And as the superintendent of the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT)—which set up more high school students with jobs than any other U.S. program—she should understand that more than anyone.

“Students need the real deal,” she says. “They can learn in the classroom, but being in a business is part of the experience they need to have.”

EVIT, situated in Eastern Arizona, is a public education system that hosts more than 40 career training programs, ranging from culinary arts to health care to, yes, automotive repair. Through those programs, roughly 240 automotive students from 10 school districts each year will simultaneously attend high school and receive two years of career training through area businesses—including Martella’s AAMCO shops.

As three individuals consumed with guiding students into a profession, Maher, Downey and Martella have some advice for ensuring there’s a steady stream of employees ready for your shop’s apprenticeship program.

 

Partner with Shops.

 

Downey says EVIT is the only high school in the East Valley of Arizona certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), which allows the school to effectively communicate with area businesses.

The thing is, auto repair shops need to be willing to collaborate—and NATEF can help facilitate that.

NATEF helps schools form local advisory committees of industry professionals, bridging the gap between education and industry. The area shops on Martella’s advisory board host students at various apprenticeships throughout the year, exposing those students to different systems, processes and specializations.

“We help the EVIT curriculum stay current with the aftermarket,” he says. “It allows us to talk with students and their parents from early high school through their senior year in high school, and reassure them that working in automotive trade is not a bad thing.”

 

Connect with Counselors, Parents.

 

You won’t reach any students if they’re being deterred from trades altogether by parents and counselors, who often believe a traditional four-year university is the only prosperous route, Maher says.

“The industry should pull those parents and counselors in, engage them, let them not forget they are vitally important to fuel future tech workforce,” she says. “We have to paint the picture for them with career opportunities and dispel those myths.”

Maher says it’s important to be upfront about how pay structures work in shops and how much students can make in the profession. Also, play up how sophisticated cars have become, and how vehicle repair requires a deep understanding of electrical and computing systems.

Martella loves attending career days, where he can talk to both students and parents about the opportunities the trade presents. He’s sure to talk up the continuous education available and the higher-than-expected salaries kids can aspire to earn.

“I have A-techs making over $100,000,” he says. “The old stigma of the grease monkey is gone. Techs today need to be very literate, computer savvy. If your son or daughter is not college bound, I tell them it’s OK to be in the automotive industry.”

 

Provide Equipment to Students.

 

In order for EVIT’s six automotive teachers to properly train students for the real world, Downey says they need the best equipment.

Luckily, used equipment donated from shops often comes in handy. Everything from scan tools to scrapped engines goes a long way in getting students shop-ready at EVIT.

As an incentive, EVIT encourages businesses to apply for a tax credit for donating equipment. Unlike a regular deduction that only allows you to subtract the contribution from your taxable income, a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar deduction in the actual tax owed.

 

TechForce Foundation’s iHub

 

Solving the employee crisis isn’t a one-man job—and that’s why TechForce Foundation wants to connect all the important players through one centralized hub.

“The industry doesn’t need us to create apprenticeship programs,” CEO Jennifer Maher says of her nonprofit that guides students through a technical education into the automotive industry. “It needs us to find where those great programs are, and promote them to parents and students and shops.”

The result has been iHub (which stands for “industry hub”), TechForce’s collection of best practices from automotive companies (including automotive repair organizations and shops) from around country for promoting students into the industry.

 

Part 2: Form a Gameplan

 

Greg Settle would really like to delve into the structure of the actual apprenticeship once the student is in the shop—but there’s one bit of preparation he needs to stress first.

“You need a written plan to follow,” says TechForce’s director of national initiatives. “What tasks you’ll be covering, and what information they’ll be learning.”

Settle recommends closely following the NATEF guidelines for apprenticeships, and creating SOPs for how the apprenticeship process will work for mentors, apprentices and the person overseeing both parties (e.g., the shop owner). Meet with your team to determine your shop’s strengths and to discuss which skills are most essential to people looking to break into the industry. Map out a timeline that moves students between various specialties and tasks to give them a rounded view of daily shop life.

Luckily, to help, Settle has noted what typically works best for an apprenticeship program, while Price, Weinberg and Martella have outlined their shops’ programs for Ratchet+Wrench. While this isn’t an exact outline of one single program, the following gameplan generally covers the consistencies between several businesses and how apprentices are properly onboarded, trained and acclimated into shop life.

 

The Evaluation

 

On a quarterly basis, Virginia Tire & Auto reviews applicants to its apprenticeship program. They are evaluated, and if chosen, then paired with a Master Technician.

Based on the apprentice’s skill level, the length of the apprenticeship can vary. If a tech student shows promise, but needs a couple more years of experience, the time frame may vary from someone who is out of school.

If the apprentice is splitting time between school and the shop, Martella will have him or her come in after school a few days per week, and sometimes even work half-days on Saturdays (since his shop is open). Often, that part-time apprenticeship will segue into a full-time apprenticeship during summer break, or if the individual graduates.

From there, Martella says the technician’s graduation from C- or D-level positions depends entirely on the apprentice’s aptitude. An apprenticeship can last anywhere from 3 months to one year before the apprentice is moved into a permanent position.

 

The Education

 

This is where apprentices review the company’s basic daily tasks, and various detailed shop processes. Basic processes involve everything after the client drops off his or her vehicle. The advisor gets the information, then dispatches the technician’s work, and then walks him or her through all the way to the end of the actual customer vehicle process.

Detailed processes include:

  • A comprehensive vehicle inspection process
  • The repair order
  • Software functionality
  • Repair ticket schedules
  • Properly formatting estimates and notes

The shop also reviews the software for technician resources, including diagnostic processes, the vehicle test drive procedures and checking fluids.

 

The Practice

 

Here, apprentices put all these processes and procedures they’ve been trained on into practice. As they do this, their mentors will watch them, guide them, prepare them, and perfect their quality control.

During the first year at Virginia Tire & Auto, Price says that apprentices specifically focus on four service items:

  • Steering and suspension
  • Brakes
  • Air conditioning
  • Engine repair

If the apprentice shows promise at Martella’s shop, he or she will upgrade to more sophisticated duties, such as diagnostics.

 

The Shadowing

 

This is the final step before apprentices are on their own. The trainee will work alongside the trainer for several months, applying the knowledge from the previous steps.

The trainee will have each step of the process verified for accuracy before moving on to the next step. The mentor will judge how much freedom he or she is allowed based on skills and work ethic.

At this point, apprentices are expected to have done the necessary research and preparation to know the car before it comes in. They check it properly, they test drive it—all the duties a full-time employee is expected to perform.

Once they prove they can do that, they’re ready to operate on their own.

 

Determine the Payment Structure

 

Every source quoted in this story echoes the same sentiment: You need to pay your apprentices.

While an “apprenticeship” is often viewed differently than an “internship,” Cindy Weinberg, director of talent development for Virginia Tire & Auto, says that often apprentices are looking for longevity and supporting families, and a lack of compensation could turn many of them off.

Sarah Price, training manager for Virginia Tire, says that the company even pays for ASE certification, study guides and online automotive tech training courses when necessary. The company will also offer interest-free loans to apprentices to purchase tools. Those loans come straight out of employee paychecks.

It’s even important to consider compensating your mentors, who will have to juggle teaching and their regular work. To help, the TechForce Foundation is developing a payment calculator on its website that dictates how much both parties should be paid, how many hours will be flagged during the mentorship, and what income each party will accrue over time. Stay posted for a link when it’s published.

 

Part 3: Onboard Apprentices

 

With this gameplan, you’ll have outlined an apprenticeship blueprint for both parties, meaning you can properly set expectations for both employees and students ahead of the process.

At Martella’s shop, the apprentices sit down for an orientation on the first day, where they review the company policies, the facility, the tools, the resources available, the parts processes, and the technician responsibilities in an employee handbook. That includes everything from hiring forms to a facility tour. There are regular evaluations that test the apprentices’ knowledge on these processes.

Settle says apprentices should be expected to recall shop basics:

  • Can you state our core values and philosophies?
  • Can you prove you can keep yourself organized?
  • Are you managing personal volume levels?
  • Can you identify the location of the diagnostic equipment?
  • Do you know to properly use the lifts, spring compressors, presses and flush tools?

And while your employees will help shape the apprenticeship blueprint, they—just like the students—will still need to be properly “onboarded,” meaning they’ll need training and advice for how to mentor students.

Price says that Virginia Tire & Auto is blessed with many master techs, who only need a tiny bit of guidance on how to properly train apprentices. Still, Price travels to the company’s 13 different locations throughout the year to check in with apprentices and mentors to ensure apprentices are making forward progress and train master techs on how to be good mentors. Price encourages patience with mentees and asks them to set expectations each day so apprentices have something to work toward.

 

Cover Liabilities

 

Many automotive repair shop owners fear the liabilities associated with minors working at their facilities, says Greg Settle, director of national initiatives for TechForce Foundation.

But if simple precautions are considered, it shouldn’t be a problem, says David Whitney, vice president of the retail profit center at Zurich Insurance, which works with shops and dealerships.

He provided some important legal advice for forming apprenticeship programs:

  1. Apprentices should be subject to the same employment standards in place for all other employees, including appropriate background checks, motor vehicle report checks and drug testing.
  2. Minors should be prohibited from operating vehicles under any circumstance.
  3. Apprentices should receive all appropriate new hire training offered to other employees, including how to properly handle flammable liquids, machinery and other equipment.
  4. Host anti-discrimination and harassment prevention training, with documentation verifying this and kept in the apprentice’s personnel file.
  5. If you host students for tours, properly train individuals who will be responsible for said tours. Create a written checklist that outlines the tour route and addresses any hazards one may encounter during the tour.

 

Part 4: Monitor the Apprenticeship

 

Maher has overseen marketing and headed corporate alliances at both YMCA and Make-A-Wish America, where she observed the importance of higher-level planning on a national scale from an executive level.

But, at the end of the day, she acknowledges it’s really all about those small, intimate relationships that go on to reshape lives.

“One person can make a difference,” she says. “If one person exposes them to the career, it can completely alter their life. That’s why apprenticeship programs are so important.”

The apprentice applicants are interviewed by available mentors and paired accordingly. Then, when an applicant is placed in the apprentice program, he or she begins working with the mentor and at the first hands-on monthly training is provided with a packet that includes an “Individual Development Plan” and tips for communicating with mentors. Within that packet, mentors and mentees outline three goals for the first year of the apprenticeship.

From there, Sarah works with the master tech to deliver hands on training to apprentices once a month, visits the individual apprentices in the stores, and meets quarterly with the apprentice, mentor and store leadership to review a scorecard on the apprentice’s progress in the program..

Often, because of this practice, mentees graduate from the program and become mentors themselves, creating a cycle that ensures Virginia Tire continually pumps out new quality employees as it continues to grow.


 

Travis Bean is the associate editor for FenderBender, Ratchet+Wrench and Fixed Ops Business.

 

 

 

TechForce and State Farm Donate Car to High School Auto Shop Program

 

State Farm and TechForce Foundation partnered to supply a local Phoenix high school with a 2016 Nissan Sentra, to use as a training aid in its auto shop program. The donation is part of the Foundation’s FutureTech Success campaign and presents the first opportunity for Trevor Brown High School students to work on a vehicle this new. This is a crucial step in preparing each student for an in-demand career in transportation technology.

 

Watch local Phoenix coverage of the donation below:

 

 

 

Sourcing Tomorrow’s Technicians

Recently, our industry has stepped-up with a number of initiatives to inform the general public about the value and connection between STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and future automotive career opportunities. The efforts have featured a multi-level approach, from educating students and parents about future workforce needs and benefits, to informing the STEM community about the wide variety of necessary backgrounds and opportunities, to raising awareness and involvement within our own industry.

One such effort is the Transportation Challenge, an initiative that deserves your attention. Not only does it have the support of a broad range of industry participants, its focus is on a student demographic industry employers have not traditionally considered — students who aren’t in an automotive program.

Connect, Interest and Encourage Students Earlier
The grassroots concept for the Transportation Challenge was created by the TechForce Foundation. For those who aren’t aware of TechForce, it’s a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) that believes solving the qualified technician shortage problem requires reaching out to students at a younger age. Its mission: To champion students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians.

“We need to work at the grassroots level by offering tangible and relevant experiences to adolescents as they start to think about their possible future careers,” explained Greg Settle, director of National Initiatives for the TechForce Foundation. “The Transportation Challenge focuses on students being able to use their STEM skills to work on applicable, vehicle-related simulations. An early experience like this may prove to be the first step for students to pursue one of many rewarding automotive careers. I don’t know if every one of these students will, but I do know that after an experience like this, some are a step closer.”

Hands-on weekly sessions for the first Transportation Challenge — geared for middle school-aged students — ran September through December 2017, with a wrap-up and public demonstration last month in Phoenix, AZ. A second Challenge, to run February through May 2018, also in Phoenix, will use high school sophomores as its demographic. They’ll serve as pilots to critique, refine and perfect before the program is rolled out across the nation.

TechForce was assisted by a task force of volunteers from the ASE Training Manager’s Council (ATMC), who helped design five “automotive challenge scenarios” the students would later choose from and execute. Settle asked Tim Dwyer, an education specialist with ConsuLab Educatech Inc. to lead the task force. In addition, local educators, representatives from national associations and executives from industry employers shared constructive feedback and evaluations to help fine tune its delivery. Sponsors General Motors, Nissan North America, Advance Auto Parts, Snap-on Tools and Universal Technical Institute underwrote the costs of the Challenge.

“We feel we have to go back as early as middle school-aged students and put self-discovery at the level where they’ll hopefully spark an interest in a career in the transportation industry and help solve some of the quality technician shortage problems we’re having right now,” Dwyer explained.

The ATMC task force helped design five automotive challenges for the student teams to select from. One of the middle school teams (left) built and demonstrated a planetary gear set. Another team (right) was tasked with engineering a two-axle vehicle that would protect an egg in the event of a frontal impact crash. (All images — Tim Dwyer)

 

A Program Built for Discovery
“To meet these challenges, these young people transformed from being a group of individuals into team members who relied on one another,” Dwyer noted. “The Transportation Challenge students worked in three teams to learn real-life tasks. These lessons ranged from structural engineering and material compatibility to the chemistry of atmospheric air and how it affects an engine, topics usually unavailable in a traditional classroom.”

Once part of a Transportation Challenge event, student teams choose one challenge out of the five created by the ATMC task force. One team selected designing a crash test, which required it to build a two-axle vehicle that would protect an egg in the event of a frontal impact. The second team chose to engineer a working turbocharger for the compression of intake air into an internal combustion engine. The final team was challenged with building a planetary gear set utilizing a fixed speed electric motor that would move a fixed weight a certain distance.

Each of the teams then used and developed their STEM skills by spending two hours each week at CREATE U facility at the Arizona Science Center, where they had access to CNC machines, laser cutters, 3D printers and an entire woodworking shop to bring their transportation prototype to life. Industry experts served as coaches and mentors to provide real-world insight and training to the students. The Challenge concluded with students demonstrating their projects to their parents and a number of special guests from the education community and the transportation industry.

“Every child has a path and for some, university may not be the best fit,” observed Chevy Humphrey, the CEO of the Arizona Science Center. “This [Transportation Challenge] program gives youth opportunities to invent, design and fabricate materials for actual use. It also opens their eyes to alternate ways to become successful by leveraging their talents and passion.”

A Call to Action
“Understand that the whole founding point of this project was to establish an event that could be replicated and offered in other sites,” Dwyer noted. “The Technology Challenge events in Arizona were prototypes to introduce middle school through high school-aged learners to working with their hands in transportation situations. We had a lot of successes, but also encountered some problems that need to be resolved.”

“Here’s one bottleneck that concerns me,” he continued. “The ATMC task force trainers — who volunteered to develop the challenges the young students would face — typically teach older audiences comprised of working technicians, other shop staff and owners. We had some problems providing input and framing challenges at a level and context appropriate to younger students.”

“This problem could be offset by involving experts from our industry who work with young students every day, such as instructors from the North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT). “I see a real opportunity for NACAT members to help this initiative. Its members are virtually everywhere, a resource TechForce needs when it visits different locales. They’re also more attuned to teaching middle school, high school, vocational school and college aged students. And they’re ideally suited to developing challenges and serving as mentors for a couple of hours per week working with and challenging these young people to work with their hands. It’s a natural fit: It’s what they do, and it’s in their DNA.”

Watch this overview of the Transportation Challenge, designed to help middle- and high-school students connect STEM skills with today’s advancing automotive technology, and explore future career paths in the transportation industry.

 

Constructive Feedback Provides Traction
“Every child has a path and for some, university isn’t the best fit,” shared Chevy Humphrey, the CEO of the Arizona Science Center. “This [Transportation Challenge] program gives youth opportunities to invent, design, and fabricate materials for actual use. It also opens their eyes to alternate ways to become successful by leveraging their talents and passion.”

“Most young students, unfortunately, are relegated to the classroom,” noted Michael Romano, president of Universal Technical Institute’s campus in Avondale, AZ. “They don’t always have the opportunity to be exposed to a greater variety of experiences. Bringing them to a learning facility where they can use their hands to experiment and try different things will help them be better workers, better producers and have a more well-rounded education as a whole. And some of them may choose automotive as a pursuit.”

“There’s power in working as a team toward a common cause,” observed Eric Rogers, one of the Estrella Middle School teachers involved in the first Challenge. “Problem solving, applying divergent thinking and finding multiple solutions are key learning points for the students. In addition, collaborating and sharing can draw a better contribution from another team member that improves upon the original idea.”

At the end of January 2018, in between the two pilot events, the TechForce Foundation invited thirty leaders from national associations and upper-level industry executives to its inaugural annual summit of the FutureTech Success National Leadership Cabinet. “We’re so grateful to have the support, engagement and enthusiasm of leaders throughout the industry,” said Jennifer Maher, CEO and Executive Director of TechForce. “No one entity can fix the qualified technician shortage problem. We all must row in the same direction.”

The Summit group explored ways to implement and activate the campaign within their own companies and associations, and brainstorming collaborative ideas around which the whole industry can unite. It also unveiled its revamped website, which includes the FutureTech Resource Hub (a one-stop portal through which parents and future technicians can find after-school programs, technical schools, scholarships and other resources), as well as an Industry Hub (which enables industry recruiters, managers, working technicians and educators to connect with future technicians).

If you’re a shop owner, working technician or instructor up for the chance to make a difference, please contact Jennifer Maher at the TechForce Foundation

_________________________________________________________

Original article published on Motor Magazine’s website

Contributed by Bob Chabot

 

Public Scholarships for Technician Students

You don’t have to limit yourself to scholarships available through UTI. There are plenty of organizations out there looking to connect students like you with scholarship money for your technician training. Find out what local scholarship opportunities are available to you in your community (see Step 2) or check online scholarship search sites like scholarships.com and fastweb.com for more opportunities.

Third-party organizations offer these scholarships based on various qualification criteria, such as grade point average and competition outcomes.

PUBLIC SCHOLARSHIPS FOR TECHNICIAN STUDENTS

TechForce Foundation Awarding $5,000 in Scholarship Funds to the Arkansas Trucking Association

TechForce Foundation Invests in the Workforce Readiness of Arkansas Diesel Technicians by Awarding $5,000 in Scholarship Funds to the Arkansas Trucking Association

TechForce Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit purposed with championing students as they pursue their technical education and careers as professional technicians in the transportation industry, has granted the Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) $5,000 to award financially disadvantaged students with tuition scholarships so they may attend any of the accredited diesel/heavy truck technical programs throughout Arkansas.

The current technician shortage spans every inch of the industry, and the solution to this problem lies in unity. Through its support of the ATA, TechForce Foundation demonstrates its commitment to working closely with each facet of the world of transportation tech to be the voice of that united front.

Major industry pillars, such as trucking, have the power to drastically affect the overall health of the industry—and the diesel technicians in training today are the force that will uphold that pillar in the not-so-distant future. The logistics and transportation industry connects every corner of the nation, providing vital services through the distribution of the goods and materials utilized in virtually every aspect of the United States economy.

“Trucks have to keep rolling in order for the U.S. to maintain a healthy, stable economy, and diesel mechanics are what keep those trucks rolling,” explains Jennifer Maher, CEO of TechForce Foundation. “TechForce is partnering with the ATA to empower students pursuing education and careers as diesel technicians, and to ensure this highly-skilled workforce necessary to maintain our country’s economic stability is readily available.”

The ATA’s mission is straightforward: look out for the collective interests of the trucking industry through raising awareness of how integral the field is to the American economy and serve its members to promote growth and prosperity. TechForce Foundation’s message is much the same. The transportation industry plays a major role in so much more than the average individual is aware. It’s what keeps America moving forward, and the foundation of that movement is the technician workforce.

TechForce Foundation and the ATA look forward to the ways in which their partnership will aid aspiring diesel/heavy truck technicians on the road to achieving a quality technical education and becoming the industry’s much needed, highly-skilled workforce.

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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 technicians for the transportation industry. TechForce Foundation  awards more than $1 million in scholarships and grants annually to students facing financial hardship so they may obtain their post-secondary technical education. Additionally, TechForce leads the FutureTech SuccessSM, campaign, an industry-wide initiative to drive tomorrow’s workforce of technicians by inspiring, supporting and connecting middle- and high-school students and their influencers with the resources to support their technical education and career development. For more information visit www.techforce.org.

About Arkansas Trucking Association

The Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) pursues its mission to advance the trucking industry’s image, efficiency, competitiveness and profitability through a comprehensive range of services, products and member benefits designed to help members compete and succeed. Members range from firms with 5 or fewer trucks to some of the nation’s largest freight and logistics companies. The ATA promotes the health of the Arkansas trucking industry on issues that have a direct impact on member companies and both state and national economies. The Association is owned and governed by more than 300 trucking companies and important industry suppliers.

TechForce Foundation | Scholarships For Transportation Technicians

TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to champion all students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians. 

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