Photo: TechForce Foundation
Tech Force Foundation

TechForce showcases real technicians' stories to attract new recruits

Aug. 29, 2022
The TechForce Foundation identified the technician labor shortage as a major problem this decade, and “Because I’m a Tech" campaign aims to put the trade in a positive light.

As the industry’s technician shortage is poised to worsen, TechForce Foundation has started a new campaign called “Because I’m a Tech," which aims to bring new recruits to the field. The effort hopes to entice new entrants to technical programs and jobs within auto, diesel, collision repair, and other industrial sectors by celebrating the skilled trades and sharing technician testimonials across industry segments, while also creating a social support system for those already in the shop.

Companies participating in the campaign and providing technician stories include Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, CRC Industries, Ford Motor Co., Pennzoil, Penske Truck Leasing, and WD-40 Co.

Charles Sanville, a content creator known as "The Humble Mechanic" who has 685,000 YouTube subscribers, also provided some videos tailored to the campaign. Sanville built his audience with videos such as helping apprentices build up their toolbox for under $1,500.

"Because I'm a tech, I was able to buy my first house at 24, able to put together a pretty awesome tool collection, and eventually be able to buy some pretty neat cars," Sanville offered on one video.

Through "Because I'm a Tech," TechForce illustrates that the benefits Sanville reaped are as much a possibility for any new recruit as they were for him.

“As part of TechForce’s workforce development initiative to Power the Technician Workforce, ‘Because I’m a Tech’ showcases the attractive lifestyle and secure economic potential of this profession," TechForce CEO Jennifer Maher said. "These careers are no longer ‘blue collar,’ but ‘new collar'—high-tech and in high demand.”

Keeping in line with attracting digital natives to the vehicle maintenance sector, the foundation has created the TechForce app, touted as " the first and only gamified social network for aspiring and working technicians." Designed by and for Gen Z, the demographic just now entering the workforce, the free TechForce app provides the following:

  • Connects aspiring and working technicians to schools and employers
  • Offers scholarships, training, internships, and jobs
  • Holds events and games (with prizes available)

Preparing for the labor shortage

“Because I’m A Tech” aims to prepare the industry for a changing of the guard as a generation of older technicians begins to age out. According to TechForce's 2021 Technician Supply & Demand report, using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, overall demand will only slightly increase, but due to labor force exits and occupational transfers, both the automotive and diesel sectors will be in dire need of techs. In the auto sector, approximately 24,000 new positions will open up due to growth, while about 500,000 positions will be needed due to occupational separations. In the diesel sector, 25,000 jobs will stem from growth and 163,000 from occupational separations.

Automotive:

Diesel:

Social rebranding and continuing education aren’t the only methods for solving the technician shortage. The industry is woefully unfulfilled with female candidates, with less than 3% of them holding technical jobs. According to an ASE Instructor Training Conference panel on the matter, increasing diversity in recruitment is key to addressing both the lack of women in the field and in filling out technician ranks. TechForce facilitates this ambassadorship as well, as more than 30% of the people active in the program are women. This is increasingly critical, as the industry will never be able to overcome its technician shortfall with only 50% of the population. And what TechForce participants and female career ambassadors are proving across the country is that there's no reason a woman shouldn't be able to do the job at the same competency or better than a man.

“In my experience, some of the best techs that I’ve seen were females,” said Adam Duplin, diesel technology coordinator at New Village Institute-Blairsville, a training center that opened this year in Pennsylvania. “They have a different methodical approach and are very detail-oriented, and they just do a really good job.”

All that needs to be done, not just for women but for anyone hoping to bring new technicians to the field, is to convince the world that there are no limits to who can or cannot find themselves on the floor of a shop and what they can achieve.
 

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