I recently had the opportunity to speak with Michael Medalla, Manager of the Toyota USA Foundation. The Toyota Foundation recently joined TechForce Foundation® as a supporting member, so it was the perfect opportunity to get Toyota’s perspective on the skills gap we are facing as a country, and how our new partnership could contribute to help solving that issue.
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.
It is no secret that the transportation industry is in dire need of technicians. The demand is greater than it has ever been before and the situation is only getting worse. Up to this point, industry has tried to fill their need for technicians by offering jobs with training attached. They are trying to recruit prospects, offer some small perks and limp by until those technicians get enough experience to actually contribute to the dealerships. Some dealerships are hiring technicians from schools, offering such things as sign-on bonuses and tuition reimbursement and putting them to work. While these have worked with minimal success, the problem still persists.
If you have been around the transportation industry for any length of time, the phrase “technician shortage” has to be a familiar one. Other than a brief respite during the Great Recession from 2008 into 2009, this has been the most talked about issue in the industry, bar none. And “talked about” is a generous term. A more apt description might be “talked to death.”