LAS VEGAS — TechForce Foundation, a non-profit industry organization, has launched a campaign to develop a pool of qualified technicians for the vehicle repair business by reaching out to middle- and high-school students.
The campaign, FutureTech Success, created by Greg Settle, TechForce director of national initiatives, and Jennifer Maher, TechForce CEO/executive director, has a threefold purpose:
- Give middle-school and high-school students, parents and influencers the tools and experiences to recognize and foster tactile intelligence;
- Help reposition the image of the profession; and
- Help the industry speak with a collective voice with regard to its workforce development needs.
"Our goal is to identify and provide naturally talented tactile learners with the after-school programs, clubs and activities, mentors and experiences that allow them to engage with the highly advanced and rapidly expanding world of vehicle technology so they — and their parents and influencers — understand there are prosperous technical career opportunities that they may not have considered," Mr. Settle said.
TechForce, a non-profit created originally to support students of Universal Technology Institute (UTI), has expanded to providing support to tech students at any school and is governed by a board of industry professionals, which distributes more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants annually.
While still supported by UTI, TechForce is a separate entity from UTI, Ms. Maher said.
"We're here to advocate career paths and support, get mentors and provide scholarships/grants for students," she said.
Quantifying the need
The need for techs is greater than ever, according to TechForce's recent report, "Transportation Technician New Entrant Demand," which reveals the severity of the vehicle technician shortage.
Employers have complained about the tech shortage and challenges finding qualified technicians for several years, but historically the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) projections did not seem to support the shortage claims, according to TechForce.
Based on an analysis of BLS data and its new methodology for job projections issued in October, TechForce found that the estimated demand for "new entrant" vehicle technicians is much higher than previously reported.