The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Foundation has announced the next phase of its Workforce Initiative, which includes the launch of a new consumer-facing website – www.nadafoundation.org – to promote the value of service technician jobs and provide the first and only centralized source of all OEM and industry training programs and scholarship opportunities for aspiring technicians.
The NADA Foundation has also announced an initial round of donations for its multi-faceted Workforce Initiative, including: $50,000 from the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA); $50,000 from PACCAR; and $25,000 from Porsche. NADA Foundation has donated an additional $250,000 to the effort.
The auto retail industry is facing a critical shortage of service technicians, which will only get worse in the coming years if not addressed. America’s technical colleges and training programs graduate approximately 37,000 new service technicians annually. Yet the industry needs to replace roughly 76,000 technicians every year just to keep pace with retirements and new jobs in the sector – leaving an annual shortage of 39,000 trained technicians
To close this gap, the NADA Foundation’s Workforce Initiative aims to promote the benefits of these jobs and make it far easier for interested individuals to learn about the training opportunities that are available to them locally.
“Before today, there was no coordinated, industry-wide, brand-neutral effort to increase the number of trained technicians we’re integrating into our workforce. But thanks to the NADA Foundation Workforce Initiative and the launch of nadafoundation.org, there finally is,” said 2019 NADA Chairman Charlie Gilchrist. “Promoting the tremendous benefits of service technician jobs and making it easier for interested students to find out about the training and scholarship opportunities available to them where they live is vital to addressing the service technician shortage that every dealer is facing.”
“We need an initiative the entire auto industry can get behind, so I’m extremely proud of this effort,” Gilchrist added. “Our workforce is our absolute best asset as dealers, but we have to recruit, train and retain the best people if we want to continue providing our customers with the best experience possible.”
The average dealership technician in the United States today makes $61,067 in salary, plus benefits, and has great opportunities for personal growth and career advancement. Experienced technicians at franchised dealerships can make more than $100,000 annually and service managers can make even more.
In addition to the website and interactive map of training and training and scholarship opportunities, the Workforce Initiative includes:
- New video stories where real technicians talk about both their work and the lifestyle provided by their career.
- An integrated digital marketing effort to increase enrollments in automotive tech training programs – especially at OEM-sponsored programs, which place thousands of students each year into dealership careers.
- A robust presence at national train-the-trainer conferences and events, to promote the benefits of technician careers with high school guidance counselors, community colleges, military separation officers at bases, and at major conferences like SEMA.
- Actionable economic research to determine how to best recruit and retain techs.
- The possible creation of a nationwide network of career fair events to bring students, career centers and dealers together for employment in their communities.
One of the immediate the goals of the Workforce Initiative is to fill OEM training programs to capacity. To date, many seats in those OEM training programs go unfilled each year even though full-time employment is virtually guaranteed upon graduation.
The National Auto Auction Association, which represents America’s used-car auctions and faces a similar technician shortage, supports the initiative. “Our focus is on identifying ways to recruit and retain the best employees. We are encouraged by the NADA Foundation who has invested time and resources in an online platform that will give us the tools we need to be effective in connecting with the education and training institutions,” said Frank Hackett, CEO of NAAA.
“Until the launch of nadafoundation.org, there was nowhere for a prospective technician to find out where their closest training program was located. For example, Toyota’s T-10 website shows where the Toyota programs are, and GM’s ASEP website shows where the GM programs are. But each ignore the other, leaving prospective students confused,” explained NADA President and CEO Peter Welch. “Our new website brings together all OEM training programs onto the same map, through data provided by our friends at Auto Service Excellence (ASE). Now anyone can now find out where the closest ASE training program is located, public or private, regardless of manufacturer.”
“The auto retail industry has a fantastic story to tell about the tremendous careers we provide,” said Welch. “We just need to get together and start telling it to the right people.”