By Wes Lutz, NADA, 2018 Chairman

In July President Trump announced an executive order establishing the President’s National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. The council is developing a national strategy to address urgent workforce issues, including a national campaign to raise awareness of the job skills crisis.

NADA applauds the President’s efforts since America’s auto dealerships are facing our own crisis with a shortage of automotive service technicians.Improving our employment numbers with skilled workers is a top priority,and I’m proud that NADA leadership has been meeting with White House officials to examine how we can be involved in this vital initiative.

Earlier this month, NADA President & CEO Peter Welch, and NADA Foundation Chairman Annette Sykora met with White House officials who are overseeing the President’s new workforce initiative. We presented our own plans for the NADA Foundation’s Workforce Initiative – which will launch in early 2019 – to promote the value of careers at new-car and -truck dealerships. For an industry that is part of Main Street, we know that we can successfully tackle this skills crisis head-on.

Dealerships nationwide provide more than 1 million jobs in sales, management and service, and service departments are especially critical in a time when thousands of cars are still in need of repairs following recalls and scheduled maintenance and warranty. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 750,000 auto techs and mechanics are currently employed across the industry. New-vehicle dealerships alone employ around 317,000 service techs. But to meet future demand from retired workers and others leaving the industry, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says an average of 76,000 technicians are needed each year from now to 2026.

A lack of dealership workers means that thousands of good-paying local jobs remain unfilled, and we will have difficulty getting the necessary people – and skill sets—to service and repair vehicles on the road. Without the service operations at local dealerships – and our technicians staffing those operations – the entire economy would grind to a halt. The future of the auto business rests in the employees who work with us day-in and day-out, and we must retain the best ones out there.

Dealership jobs are among the last jobs in America where individuals without a four-year college education can make an excellent living and have opportunities to advance into management careers. NADA has proudly espoused the benefits of local dealerships via our own national campaign: mydealership.org If you haven’t already, I urge you to share a particular section called “my dealership creates jobs.” Share this on your own websites and social media pages. The average dealership job pays $70,000 per year with benefits. And tech jobs are particularly vital to providing safe transportation to all Americans.

And we encourage all interested dealers to engage with the White House and consider joining the President’s Workforce Initiative. If your dealership would like to make a pledge to increase career opportunities for students and workers, including apprenticeships, work-based learning programs, continuing education, on-the-job training or re-skilling, click here for the information you need to sign up.

NADA—along with industry allies—must take action now to narrow the work gap at our dealerships and other American industries. We look forward to working with the White House in any way we can so that more people take advantage of the good-paying careers dealers offer and discover the benefits of employment at our new-car dealerships.

Wes Lutz is 2018 NADA chairman and president of Extreme Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Jackson, Mich.

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association