Getting Future Auto Technicians Into Your Shop

Jessica Dade, Industry-Education Alliance Manager & Workforce Recruiter

It’s no secret that nationally, and in New Hampshire, the demand for highly skilled auto technicians is greater than the supply. Common question among NHADA members are:

“How do I get first dibs on future auto technicians?” and

“How do I get these highly skilled future workers into my shop?”

A proven answer to these questions is: Get actively involved on your local advisory board for a high school, regional technical center or community college auto tech program that is accredited by National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).

These boards generally consist of former students, currently employed auto technicians, employers and people who represent consumers’ interests.

They serve in addition to school personnel who are responsible for running the programs. These leadership and advisory roles give you a voice and the satisfaction of giving back to programs that help sustain your business.

An even more effective way to get prospective auto technicians into your shop is to provide opportunities outside the classroom to auto tech students. Generally, consider job co-ops, extended learning opportunities and mentorships:

Job Co-Ops: These are degree programs through the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH). Built into the student’s schedule are paid positions, into which the student is placed, usually within a service department to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and learn on the job alongside the most experienced automotive technicians NH has to offer.

Extended Learning Opportuni-ties: These are high-school based programs in which, for the duration of a semester, students are placed in local shops for approximately 45 minutes to an hour once or twice a week to gain a basic overview of an industry and to obtain a familiarization with the real-world application of what is being learned in the classroom.

Mentorships: Mentors are assigned to students at both the high school and college level, and their level of engagement with the student can range from working one-on-one to teaching them the trade on a shop floor, to supervising the students in self-directed performance within the industry and providing guidance when necessary.

The benefits of providing these opportunities are obvious for the students, but they also provide you the opportunity to make a difference in a student’s education. You also benefit from the opportunity of having an extended job interview of a prospective applicant. This is truly a win-win scenario.

The nature of today’s labor market is such that job applicants now fundamentally interview their employers. These programs described above allow you to showcase the benefits of working at your shop.

The labor market for the brightest skilled auto technicians is competitive; if you want the edge, learn more about how to get involved on your local advisory board. Provide learning opportunities in your shop.

Give me a call or email for more ideas and information, or visit me at the NHADA Expo on May 11 for information on how you can contribute and, in return, bring NH’s auto tech future into your shop. Reach me at 800-852-3372 or send an email to jdade@nhada.com.

NHADA’s premier member gathering takes place on June 24-26, at the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa in Whitefield, NH. Every NHADA member company receives two free registrations, which include receptions and meals in addition to numerous activities and entertainment.

Partners also receive a minimum of two free registrations, depending on their partnership level.

NHADA has taken over the entire resort, and all 141 rooms are $149 per night. Don’t delay! Reserve your room now for the best selection!

Check out the agenda (which is massive); find out how to reserve a room — and reserve a spa date with a 25% discount. Either register online or download a registration form at www.NHADA.com/Rally.

Special thanks to our major sponsors:

American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc. — Monday Night Big Bash Rally Party

Cox Automotive Inc. — Keynote Presenter Tim Zierden, VP of Strategic Accounts

Albin, Randall & Bennett — Comedian Juston McKinney

For additional information, contact Jean Conlon at jconlon@nhada.com or 800-852-3372.