FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — April 10, 2019 — Haynes North America, Inc. has committed $50,000 in in-kind support of TechForce Foundation’s FutureTech Success campaign. With this commitment, Haynes has reaffirmed its support for the transportation technicians who keep America rolling, and hope to continue growing the technician career pipeline to meet the nation’s ever-increasing need for professional technicians.
Developed by leading educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) TechForce Foundation, the FutureTech Success campaign is an industry-wide initiative driving tomorrow’s workforce of technicians by inspiring, supporting and connecting middle and high-school students and their influencers with the resources necessary to support their technical education and career development.
“We are very excited to partner with TechForce on this important initiative. With our print and online manuals, as well as our new professional offering AllAccess, we hope to empower and motivate students to jump into an automotive career and continue to work with their hands,” said Reed Trueblood, Director of Marketing at Haynes North America, Inc. “Every manual is written from hands-on experience gained from a complete teardown and rebuild, which is the step-by-step procedure of dismantling and rebuilding a vehicle part-by-part. We hope to use these manuals to educate and spark the interest of future technicians.”
This partnership will help expand the FutureTech Success campaign’s efforts to provide resources and educational materials for aspiring technicians, their parents and educators alike. As the leader in automotive equipment repair, maintenance, and customization manuals, Haynes’s support for the campaign will be a catalyst for TechForce Foundation’s efforts to grow the industry’s talent pipeline by appealing to and reaching future technicians.
“Partnering with a company like Haynes gives students a unique perspective that narrows the focus on the hands-on aspect of the automotive trade,” said Jennifer Maher, CEO and Executive Director of TechForce Foundation. “We are excited to collaborate with Haynes to reframe the stigmas and motivate students to take their tinkering a little further into a career in the transportation industry.”
About Haynes North America, Inc.
Haynes, the world-leading publisher of automotive, motorcycle, marine and tractor repair content, is renowned for teaching millions of owners how to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. For almost 60 years, Haynes has been dismantling vehicles–and putting them back together again. Only in this unique ‘hands on’ way can Haynes provide authoritative and step-by-step information on both basic and complex tasks through print and online products.www.haynes.com.
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 transportation 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 www.techforce.org.
Reed Trueblood, click to email, 805-262-3354 or 805-794-4776
TechForce Foundation Contact:
Jennifer Maher, click to email, 623-445-0933 or 602-550-0371
Scottsdale, Ariz. — December 5, 2018 — Ford Motor Company is continuing to work with the TechForce Foundation to inspire tomorrow’s workforce of automotive technicians through a new FutureTech Success® campaign. This initiative will send the message to current and future techs that Ford respects, appreciates and champions trained technicians.
TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), has a mission to champion students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians. The FutureTech Success campaign was developed to ignite the passion and sense of purpose in students who love working with their hands. The campaign works to reposition the image of the technical profession as a high-tech, in-demand, and rewarding career choice.
“The automotive industry is facing a significant shortage of qualified automotive service technicians,” said Antonietta Polsinelli, Technical Placement Manager. “With this collaboration, we are proud to support and motivate students who have demonstrated an aptitude toward technical skills to consider the opportunities a career as an automotive service technician can provide.”
Ford Motor Company has previously worked with TechForce by providing scholarships for technical education, but wanted to work to help students earlier. This program exposes students to advancements in auto manufacturing.
“We are thrilled Ford is continuing this collaboration through support of FutureTech Success as well as the scholarship program,” said Jennifer Maher, CEO and Executive Director of TechForce Foundation. “When techs rock, America rolls, and with Ford on board with their leading technology, we will educate and spur excitement within the next generation of automotive technicians.”
For more information about TechForce Foundation and the FutureTech Success campaign, visit TechForceFoundation.org.
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 $2 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 www.techforce.org.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 200,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.
For further information, please contact:
Jennifer Maher, Executive Director
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
The shop also reviews the software for technician resources, including diagnostic processes, the vehicle test drive procedures and checking fluids.
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:
If the apprentice shows promise at Martella’s shop, he or she will upgrade to more sophisticated duties, such as diagnostics.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 Foundation and the American Rental Association are collaborating to address the technician workforce demand. The American Rental Association (ARA) and TechForce Foundation, Scottsdale, Ariz., are collaborating in an effort to raise the profile of trade and technical careers necessary to support future growth in the equipment rental industry.
TechForce Foundation is a leading, educational, nonprofit 501(c)(3) that has developed the FutureTech Success™ 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.
“We are excited to announce ARA’s support of the FutureTech Success™ campaign, and proud to be named an association partner. The demand for skilled technicians to keep the equipment rental industry thriving has become increasingly dire,” says Tony Conant, ARA CEO. “ARA recognizes that this labor shortage is a significant issue for our members and the industry as a whole. Partnering with TechForce Foundation is one step that ARA is taking to address the growing concern and provide resources that our members can benefit from.”
Conant was joined by Jennifer Maher, TechForce Foundation CEO, at The Rental Show® in New Orleans where they discussed the challenges that rental business operators face with finding people with tactile skills and the technical training to build, diagnose and maintain various types of equipment in the industry.
“Having ARA on board as an association partner with TechForce Foundation in the FutureTech Success™ campaign helps us reach a new audience and opens up opportunities for us to assist an additional segment of the industry. There is power in numbers and the more companies and organizations that join in our cause and help share the message, the increased likelihood for success,” says Maher.
“For decades, technicians have been unfairly identified as ‘grease monkeys.’ It’s a label that was never true but, today, is just ridiculous when you consider the complexity of the equipment in the rental industry. Frankly, we’re out to disband that negative image once and for all. And, in the process, we want to inspire and support those who are looking for a secure and rewarding career that fits their talent and interests,” says Maher.
According to the Technician Demand Report, published by TechForce Foundation, 125,000 new entrant technicians in auto, diesel and collision will be needed annually over the next 10 years. “If you look at the statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS), they accounted only for new entrants in this career field, but failed to account for the replacement component of demand, which is a considerable number,” says Maher. “The new BLS projection is more in line with what TechForce believes the demand to be.”
A number of factors have contributed to the current shortage, such as the growing economy, increased demand caused by the 2008 recession and the complexity of vehicles and equipment with more intricate diagnostics than ever before. Overcoming the misperception that a four-year degree is the only road to success in America and educating students and parents on the rewarding opportunities that a technician career can provide are the fundamental issues in overcoming the labor shortage, according to Maher.
Earlier this year, the ARA Foundation initiated the Technical Training Grants program, which is designed to provide financial assistance to rental business employees pursuing higher learning in areas from welding to hospitality services. This program assists employees with a minimum of 1,000 hours of service to a rental business who are eligible for up to 50 percent of the training costs, up to a maximum of $1,000.
This release is an official publication of the American Rental Association.
Produced by Rental Management Group. Copyright © 2018 Rental Pulse all rights reserved
As the CEO and executive director of TechForce Foundation, Jennifer Maher has a bold vision. “For decades, technicians have been unfairly identified as ‘grease monkeys.’ It’s a label that was never true but, today, is just ridiculous when you consider the complexity of vehicles. Frankly, we’re out to kill that negative image once and for all. And, in the process, we want to inspire and support those who are looking for a secure and rewarding career that fits their talent and interests,”said Maher.
Prior to joining TechForce, Maher had extensive non-profit experience outside of the automotive industry. She has served on the senior leadership team for Make-A-Wish America as its vice president of marketing and corporate relations; national director of corporate relations for YMCA of the USA; associate director for The Nature Conservancy; sales manager for Marriott Corp.; and president of a cause-marketing consulting firm, The Cause Academy.
For Make-A-Wish, she was responsible for national brand marketing, communications, media relations, web initiatives, research and impact data collection, and the sales and account management of the foundation’s corporate and media partnership agreements. In addition, she managed strategy, budget and operations.
Recruited by YMCA of the USA, Maher built and launched its first-ever national corporate partnership and strategic marketing initiative. That included establishing the initial vision, strategic plan, infrastructure and processes necessary to launch the new initiative. Over an eight-year period, she managed department operations, its budget, and legal and accounting issues.
In addition to being a consummate fundraiser, Maher has crafted celebrity and media partnerships, including launching ESPN SportsCenter’s “My WIsh” series (recently celebrating its 10th season) and securing Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, John Cena and Annika Sorenstam as Make-A-Wish spokespersons, and Michael Jordan as its Chief Wish Ambassador.
Brand marketing awards during her Make-A-Wish tenure include winning the prestigious 2007 Gold Addy and Silver Addy awards and 2006 Telly Award for Make-A-Wish PSA television campaign; the 2007 Webby Award for “Best new nonprofit website”; and the 2008 Golden Halo: “Best integrated message” award for the implementation of the foundation’s first signature campaign — Destination Joy — presented by LAY’S, which generated more than 1 billion consumer impressions in just 30 days. Also, she was a finalist for PRWeek’s “Nonprofit Campaign of the Year” Award in 2008.
Currently, Maher is a member of Women in Auto Care, and has formed strategic partnerships between TechForce Foundation and numerous industry associations, including ASE, NATEF, ATMC, AMRA, AYES, Auto Care Association, Collision Repair Education Foundation and SkillsUSA.
A graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science/international Asian studies and a minor in Chinese, she studied two summers in Mainland China, and wrote her thesis on the 1989 Pro-Democracy Movement in mainland China (Tiananmen Square) entitled “The Revolution by Fax Machine.”
The TechForce Foundation may be a relatively new name to some but the organization actually has fairly well established footprint in the automotive education industry. Can you give us a brief history of the organization?
TechForce Foundation was originally formed in 2005 as the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) Drive Foundation with the mission to promote technical training and automotive driving safety. By 2007, it had evolved to providing support to financially disadvantaged students attending UTI campuses across the country with scholarships and grants to pursue their technical education. In 2016, the foundation changed its name to TechForce Foundation, expanding its mission to “champion students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians” by not only providing scholarships and grants to students going to any technical education institution, but also supporting more career development opportunities for young people to explore the technician profession. The foundation has always been an independent501(c)(3) nonprofit, separate from UTI, but UTI was the foundation’s largest inaugural donor, hence the original name. Today, TechForce enjoys the support of dozens of corporate and individual donors, including UTI, but also companies from all sectors, including aftermarket, diesel, collision repair, OEs, product manufacturers, retailers and supporters of transitioning veterans.
This year at AAPEX, the foundation released a report titled, “Transportation Technician New Entrant Demand,” which found the estimated demand for “new entrant” vehicle technicians is significantly greater than previously reported. What’s the solution to ensuring this issue is resolved?
Service repair operators — both aftermarket and dealership — have complained about the lack of qualified technicians for at least two decades. Even so, no one has accurately quantified the problem. Anecdotal information is important but studying the problem and putting hard numbers to it shows that the problem is even worse than what everyone thought. For example, the report we published late last year indicated that for this year alone, the vehicle industry (auto, diesel and collision) needs more than 137,000 “new entrant” technicians. We believe that the only way to solve the technician shortage and create a sustainable pipeline for the future is with an integrated, industry-wide strategic plan. This is something that has never been attempted before. There has been a lot of wonderful work done, and great programs developed, but unfortunately, whether intentional or not, many of them have been in silos. As an industry, we have not done a very good job of truly working together to solve this problem. We believe that the FutureTech Success industry initiative launched last fall is that much-needed strategic industry plan.
Tell us more about the FutureTech Success initiative.
As I mentioned, solving the technician shortage is all about having a well-thought out strategic plan, and that plan is 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. So how will we do that?
First, we want to identify and provide naturally talented tactile learners with after school programs, on- and off-line activities, mentors and experiences to engage them with the highly advanced world of vehicle technology so they, along with their parents and influencers, realize that there are great career opportunities that they may not have been aware of, or considered.
Second, is to change a public perception that has haunted this profession for decades: The “grease monkey” image. This image was never deserved, but today it is so far from reality that it’s crazy. 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.
Third, is getting everyone in the industry on board to work together. We need to speak with a collective voice. Right now, we have well-intentioned messaging out in the public about technical careers, but it is sporadic and not well-aligned. Our messaging must be consistent. We also spend too much time and energy “reinventing the wheel.” We need to do a better job identifying best practices and programs that are already out there, and then sharing them across the industry
Our futuretechsuccess.org website serves to integrate all three of these areas. It is a hub where anyone interested can find information and resources on technician careers, whether they be students, parents and influencers, educators or industry professionals
You’ve had a number of notable organizations sign on to support the foundation. Tell us about some of the most recent to sign on and what kind of involvement you are looking for?
Advance Auto Parts was the first sponsor to sign on, and we applaud them specifically for their vision and leadership, because getting the first partner is always the hardest and they stood tall with us. We’ve also gotten the commitment of Bridgestone, Nissan, UTI, Snap-on and Shell Lubricants. What’s beginning to turn the tide, however, is that we are also starting to secure peer companies, truly demonstrating that we all need to be at the table and leave our business cards and industry silos at the door. With AutoZone, Valvoline and General Motors commitments, we proved that there’s no exclusivity when it comes to solving the technician shortage; we’re in this together. And last, I’d mention the momentum building as the campaign not only attracts those from a workforce development/recruiting side of the house, but marketers, like Interstate Batteries, Manheim and WD-40, who recognize that their brands, storytelling and community relations needs to be authentic in standing with and for technicians, people who love working with their hands, and supporting technical education and careers. Put all that together, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to be excited about the momentum of FutureTech Success.
TechForce recently held a 12-week program at the Arizona Science Center working with middle school students, where you are able to showcase the organization’s mission and philosophy of supporting and celebrating these burgeoning “hands-on heroes.” What kind of response are you getting at these events from kids, parents and teachers?
We have been very pleased with the response. For the majority of these students, this was the first time they have had the opportunity to do any real work with their hands and experience the feeling of creativity and accomplishment that comes with that. Due to our school systems moving away from vocational education and training, those opportunities are few and far between these days, which is exactly why we developed this program. Teachers have been very supportive in helping identify the right kids to attend the program, and I believe they see this program as something that is truly beneficial to them. On the last week of the program we held an open house where the students were able to “show-off” their projects and explain what they learned. It was rewarding to see the pride reflected in the parents’ faces that were in attendance.
Moreover, both students and parents were able to witness the support of the industry as several industry leaders attended and participated in this event. One of the attendees — Michael Romano, Universal Technical Institute’s Avondale Campus president, summed up the experience quite well when he said that even if these students don’t wind up in a profession using their hands, this kind of experience will help them be “better workers, better producers and have a more well-rounded education as a whole.”
What else do you have planned for the program in 2018?
A key way to solve the qualified tech shortage problem is through grassroots efforts, which was exactly the focus of our Fall 2017 program with the Arizona Science Center. By targeting specific communities and young students — in this case, middle-school students — we can start to change how schools, students and parents approach career development. This month we will launch our second phase of the program, which will focus on high school students. We believe that a critical piece in getting young men and women interested in technical careers is sustaining their interest over time. It cannot be a “one and done.” So our efforts will be focused on creating a journey of various experiences and touch points that will take them from middle school through high school and post-secondary training into industry careers
Our efforts in Arizona are really serving as our model, and proof of concept to replicate in other cities around the country. An integral and absolutely critical piece in our strategic model is to bring in local industry and educators as part of the solution. To that end, we have created the Arizona FutureTech Workforce Development Council. The council consists of local school, school board and school district members, as well as local transportation industry companies. We plan for this Workforce Development Council to be the first of many states, as we expand around the country.
We are currently looking at a short list of cities for consideration as our next location for expansion. We expect a final decision within the next month or two, with implementation beginning later this year.
How can AMN readers get involved with the foundation? What needs do you currently have in terms of financial and industry support?
Our financial strategy for the FutureTech Success initiative is based on the McDonald’s restaurant model. Sell a million hamburgers for a dollar each and suddenly you have a million dollars. This issue is much too big for any single entity to solve. But by harnessing the resources of the entire transportation industry and all its segments, we don’t need a huge amount of money from any one organization. We just need to get a large number of organizations involved. So, we are looking for financial support from across the board…from small Mom and Pop independent garages to national aftermarket retailers to OEMs. Each to their own ability to help.
In addition, on the nonprofit side, we have a strong base of support from across the industry with key associations. They bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion around the technician shortage issue, as well as important in-kind donations to help further the cause. Any individual or organization that is interested in getting involved can visit our website at techforce.org/support. There we highlight opportunities to help financially, with training aids, and with volunteer time.
Original article posted on After Market News
Contributed by Amy Antenora
Scottsdale, AZ — Julia Landauer, NASCAR powerhouse, female racer and advocate for women in S.T.E.M., has signed on as an official partner of TechForce Foundation and its FutureTech Success™ campaign. This industry-wide initiative aims to drive tomorrow’s workforce of transportation technicians by repositioning the image of the profession. Moreover, the campaign provides middle- and high-school students and their parents opportunities to experience automotive and motorsports technology and to encourage diverse audiences, including women and people of color to enter the field.
Bearing the title of FutureTech Success Ambassador, Landauer will work with the Foundation through media appearances, public service announcements, and fundraising efforts to inform and inspire young, tactile-minded individuals seeking to pursue careers in the field of transportation tech, a mission the accomplished racer is very passionate about. Since graduating from Stanford with a degree in science, technology, and society, Landauer has made it her goal to apply such subjects to the world of racing, and to do everything in her power to involve others in the industry she is so passionate about.
“Some people are a great fit for suit and tie careers and others are built to build—to work with their hands. We are all wired differently,” explains Landauer. “That’s the message TechForce is projecting through FutureTech Success and why I am so excited to be an ambassador of the cause. It is so important for young people to discover early on what they click with, and for their parents and other authority figures to provide them with the tools, opportunities, and support to develop those gifts and build exciting futures.”
As the highest finishing woman in K&N Series history and the only auto racer on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list, it is safe to say Landauer knows a thing or two about success — and the hard work and dedication it takes to get there. “We should all have an underdog mentality that forces us to stick with it, make it work, and see it through. That’s how you win,” Landauer says. Through her work with TechForce Foundation, Landauer seeks to instill this mentality in today’s youth, encouraging them to pursue greatness both for themselves, and for the industry in which they will become the lifeblood.
Unfortunately, some have had to work a little harder than others to find that success. Historically a white, male dominated field, careers are now more accessible than ever to women and people of color seeking to dive into the world of S.T.E.M. Landauer has held true to her dedication to encouraging diversity and involvement in such careers, utilizing her rising notoriety as a platform for the cause.
“I’ve always been passionate about the intersection of technology, community, and racing,” recalls Julia. “Everyone has something unique to contribute, and the industry loses out on so much when it’s not inclusive. Women and people of color have as much to give in racing and tech as anyone else, and working together toward innovation only makes us all stronger and better off.”
Landauer describes racing as a team effort, where having the best of the best in your pit can make all the difference. “Racing is about so much more than just the person behind the wheel,” she explains. “As a driver, you rely pretty heavily on your pit crew technicians to make sure everything is working the way it should. In order to be a great driver, you have to have great techs on your team — limiting the pool of talent you’re pulling from for a crew doesn’t just hurt the industry, it can hurt you.”
Through FutureTech Success, TechForce seeks to break down those barriers, equipping each and every child with the information and tools necessary to pursue success in the industry. Landauer’s passion for and experience with this same goal provides invaluable insights to the Foundation, and with the help of her established reputation and platform, will allow TechForce to reach even farther than before, impacting the lives of students across the nation.
“Take one look at Julia’s career and you’ll know exactly what she’s all about,” explains Jennifer Maher, CEO of TechForce Foundation. “She’s driven, she’s talented, and she is absolutely committed to the future of the technician and racing industries. That is exactly the kind of fire TechForce needs to ensure the FutureTech Success initiative reaches its fullest potential.” With such a force behind the campaign, great things will be possible for young people who are poised to revolutionize the industry.
Landauer has injected every aspect of her image with the truth that the next generation is well worth pouring into to create a brighter future for all. With an entire career of experience with advocating for more involvement in racing and tech under her belt, Julia Landauer is perfect partner to work with TechForce Foundation and its FutureTech Success initiative. Together, these two forces are on track to make a huge difference in the lives of future technicians.
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 Success™ 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.
About Julia Landauer:
Julia Landauer is a two-time championship winning NASCAR driver from New York City. Since making history as the first and youngest female champion in the Skip Barber Racing Series at age 14, Julia has amassed dozens of wins in many different racing series. After becoming the first woman to win a NASCAR Track Championship at Motor Mile Speedway in her division in 2015, Julia graduated to the televised NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2016. In the K&N series, Julia finished 4th in the series championship, becoming the highest finishing female in the series’ 62-year history. Julia is currently competing in her second season in the K&N Pro Series West. Now settled in North Carolina, Julia is making her name synonymous with more than speed and grit; as she climbs the NASCAR ladder Julia uses her racing platform to continue advocating for STEM education and women’s empowerment. For more information, visit www.julialandauer.com
For years, society has pushed that a university education is the only path to a successful career. This messaging steered students away from exploring trade careers—such as automotive technicians and electricians—leaving most to view these jobs as undesirable with no future. But this is not the case.
The U.S. is home to the second largest passenger vehicle market in the world. These vehicles are highly sophisticated, typically outfitted with over 100 million lines of code and thousands of parts. In addition, they are on average 11.5 years old. Because vehicles are now more complicated and staying on the road longer, the auto repair industry is set for massive growth. Coupled with an aging technician population, this occupation has high earning potential and almost guaranteed job security for those entering the field.
Interstate Batteries is playing a part in changing this narrative by signing on as a main sponsor of the FutureTech SuccessSM campaign, in cooperation with the TechForce Foundation. The campaign’s goal is to eliminate the stereotype of the “grease-monkey mechanic,” by encouraging and providing opportunities for young people to explore and tinker, while informing parents and influencers of the career potential in the transportation industry. By supporting FutureTech Success, Interstate Batteries is championing the technicians of tomorrow.
“This is an issue that affects everyone in our industry,” said Tom Gray, vice president of marketing, Interstate Batteries. “We’ve been wanting to take action for some time and TechForce Foundation has the right message, tools and caliber partners to help us make that difference.”
Interstate Batteries’ contribution to FutureTech Success will help fund marketing campaigns and grassroots projects that will inspire young people to learn more about this industry. The donation will also provide resources for parents, schools and other influencers to help identify young person’s natural tactile intelligence, which translates to some of the skills necessary to be a technician.
With the support of its corporate and association sponsors, such as Interstate Batteries, Nissan, Pennzoil, and General Motors, TechForce Foundation seeks to enact great change, unifying the transportation industry to encourage young, tactile-minded individuals to consider the industry for what it truly is: innovative, exciting and filled with opportunity.
For more information on TechForce Foundation, visit: www.techforce.org.
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 Interstate Batteries
For more than 65 years, Interstate Batteries® has powered people down roads, trails and waterways and businesses to succeed. Best known for its starting, lighting and ignition (SLI) batteries, this product has been under car hoods since 1952, each one backed by the company’s service, quality and value. Interstate PowerCare® offers premier products and technical expertise for all critical motive power needs, while Interstate All Battery Center® provides portable power in both retail and commercial markets. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Interstate Batteries is an industry leader in recycling efforts, as well as a global leader in safe lead handling practices. Guided by a set of common values, the company’s purpose is to glorify God and enrich lives while delivering the most trustworthy source of power to the world. For more information, visit www.interstatebatteries.com.
Memphis, Tenn. (October 05, 2017) – AutoZone, Inc., (NYSE: AZO), the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive parts and accessories, has signed on as a national corporate sponsor of TechForce Foundation’s FutureTech Success™ campaign, an industry-wide initiative to fuel the future pipeline of transportation technicians by repositioning the image of the profession and providing middle- and high-school students and their parents with the resources and opportunities to foster hands-on, tactile intelligence.
Since its creation, the initiative has rallied the support of many corporate and association partners, the latest being AutoZone, which, in addition to its retail operation, has an extensive commercial sales program that provides commercial credit and prompt delivery of parts and other products to local, regional and national repair garages, dealers, service stations, and public sector accounts.
“We are proud and eager to build the FutureTech Success campaign with the TechForce Foundation and fellow sponsors,” explains Mitch Major, Vice President, Commercial Support, AutoZone and President, ALLDATA.” “We appreciate their vision and strategic leadership in engaging young people in communities across the U.S. in the automotive industry.”
Since 2011, AutoZone has been a generous benefactor of the Foundation, funding scholarships and grants for students pursuing a technical education. The investment in FutureTech Success demonstrates the long-term commitment to students’ development and careers.
FutureTech Success seeks to inform and inspire young people who have the aptitude to thrive in the field of transportation tech, empowering them to pursue greatness in a career they may have never before considered. There are many individuals with the talent and passion perfectly tailored to careers as technicians, and the industry is in need of every last one of them it can get.
“We so strongly believe this initiative has the potential to revolutionize the industry, but it can only do so with the right tools and support,” expresses Jennifer Maher, CEO, TechForce Foundation. “By signing on as a sponsor of FutureTech Success, AutoZone is providing a vital component of that support to ensure the success of the initiative, as well as declaring a commitment to the industry’s future.”
TechForce Foundation and AutoZone look forward to the impact this partnership will have on both the industry itself, and the lives of the FutureTechs who will help it thrive.
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 Success 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 AutoZone (NYSE:AZO)
As of August 26, 2017 AutoZone sells auto and light truck parts, chemicals and accessories through 5,465 AutoZone stores in 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the U.S., and 524 stores in Mexico, 26 IMC branches and 14 stores in Brazil for a total count of 6,029.
AutoZone is the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. Each AutoZone store carries an extensive product line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products. Many stores also have a commercial sales program that provides commercial credit and prompt delivery of parts and other products to local, regional and national repair garages, dealers, service stations, and public sector accounts. IMC branches carry an extensive line of original equipment quality import replacement parts. AutoZone also sells the ALLDATA brand diagnostic and repair software through www.alldata.com. Additionally, we sell automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products through www.autozone.com, and accessories, performance and replacement parts through www.autoanything.com, and our commercial customers can make purchases through www.autozonepro.com and www.imcparts.net. AutoZone does not derive revenue from automotive repair or installation.
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AutoZone Contact Information:
Media: Ray Pohlman
Financial: Brian Campbell