Photo: ASE Instructor Conference
2022 Ase Instructor Conference Keynote Panel

ASE Instructor Training Conference panel offers solutions for technician diversity

Aug. 30, 2022
The keynote panel discussion, entitled the “The 2 Percent Solution”, featured several female automotive service professionals, students, and instructors.

Although women make up more than 50% of the population, they are vastly underrepresented in the vehicle repair trade. Women encapsulate only 2.5% of its workforce. To address this staggering gap, 2022’s ASE Instructor Training Conference, held in Leesburg, Virginia in August, a keynote panel discussion entitled “The 2 Percent Solution” that focused on making training programs and workplaces more welcoming to everyone, including women and other underrepresented groups.

The keynote session was moderated by Catherine “Cat” Treanor, UK business development manager for Electude.

“We have a shortage of technicians, an aging workforce, a negative stereotype, a lack of new talent and a tidal wave of new technology,” Treanor said.

In addition to these issues plaguing technician recruitment overall, the panel discussed some of the other challenges that females face in school and in the workplace, include the perception of not being able to do the job, not be taken seriously, being stereotyped into a certain job, trying to get that first job, and the lack of support from others.

“The answers to all these challenges is diversity. We need diversity of gender, ethnicity, of age, physical attributes and more,” Treanor emphasized.

Read more: Why are shops still a 'no woman’s land'?

To achieve this diversity and increase the number of females in schools, the panel suggested increasing shadowing opportunities, giving high school students the option to explore automotive classes to see if they like them, providing facts to potential students about the advantages of the industry and financial benefits they could achieve, creating a safe environment for students, eliminating the term "non-traditional" from technician career paths, and working with administrators and counselors to encourage female students to participate in automotive programs.

“The only way we can solve things as an industry is if we work together,” said Mike Coley, president, ASE Education Foundation. “Our goal is to build the next generation of our industry and make industry educational opportunities available to everyone.”

The other panelists included:

  • Missy Albin, Navistar master diesel mechanic, Taylor & Lloyd, Inc. (Read a profile of Albin's journey here.)
  • Lou Bramante, automotive instructor, Vineland Senior High School
  • Raven Hartkopf, collision discipline lead, Colin College
  • Jenny Kovacs, Ford master technician, C. Harper Ford
  • Joe Laubhan, service director, Classic Chevrolet
  • Vanessa Retsos, Chevrolet service technician, Classic Chevrolet
  • Paulina Sanchez, shop owner and collision repair student at Colin College
About the Author

Fleet Maintenance staff