WEST JORDAN, Utah—Utah has been enjoying a strong economy and a population growth rate that is twice the national average, but coinciding with this prosperity is a labor shortage, according to Michael Zufelt, president of the Utah Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association. So the UTDRA is taking a proactive approach to help its tire dealer members, Mr. Zufelt said. As a representative of the association, Mr. Zufelt has begun speaking to students in high schools and vocational education institutes, encouraging them to consider career opportunities in tire sales and automotive service that offer high wages and job security.
As a result of the labor shortage, an average mechanic can earn $45,000 to $65,000 a year in Utah, Mr. Zufelt said. And being in high demand, technicians can ``write their own ticket'' in regards to flexible hours and benefits. If a boss won't offer flexibility, ``there are 12 employers standing in line that will,'' Mr. Zufelt said.
The association, which has 17 dealership members representing 77 locations, also plans to set up an apprenticeship program this spring in which students can work part-time in members' stores to gain practical experience.
Interested students can send their resumes to Mr. Zufelt, who said he will act as a clearinghouse, matching students with interested dealerships.