The need for more automotive service technicians is nothing new.
Tire and car dealerships and other repair shops have struggled for years to find and retain qualified workers for the growing workload in their automotive service bays.
So why don't more young people find a tech career-and the automotive service business in general-more attractive?
A recent national survey by Auto Retailing Today, an auto industry association, found that parents and school guidance counselors often don't understand the opportunities offered by today's auto service shop and don't think working in the field is a worthy profession.
In fact, 52 percent of guidance counselors surveyed don't even discuss the growing field with students.
If these important influencers don't value the profession or, at least in some cases, know it even exists, why would the young people they counsel think otherwise?
Auto Retailing Today's mission is to tackle the shortfall in technicians and help find applicants for the estimated 35,000 new technical jobs opening up at auto retailers each year.
Already the association has created a Web site, www.autoretailing.org, that will serve as a clearing house for job information for the in-dustry. The site connects viewers to employment materials from all the auto makers and provides public relations information about what an automotive career offers.
Tire dealers, who employ tens of thousands of technicians, should tap into this education effort by pushing their national and state associations to get involved as well.
Today a master automotive service technician can earn as much as $70,000 to $100,000 a year in modern, challenging and exciting workplaces. That compares favorably with other high-tech professions.
If more counselors and parents knew this, they might consider changing careers themselves.