The constant push to send young people to college is having an effect and it isn’t good. Too many do what they’re supposed to do, pursuing a degree they don’t really want with money they don’t have for a job they’ll never get while at the same time, auto dealers are struggling to find good mechanics, who can work their way up to solid positions earning $100,000 per year or more. While those of us more technically inclined have been aware of this for years, it’s getting to the point where the major media are catching on. What needs to happen is more young people have to catch on, too.
The New York Times reports how BMW is showing up at job fairs and tech schools to find promising students for positions at local dealerships. Fiat Chrysler says it could absorb another 5000 technicians over the next two years. One manager of the automotive program at a local college estimates a shortage of over 25,000 technicians across all dealerships over the next two years.
Unfortunately, many young people don’t have the interest in cars that some of us did while growing up. The trend to getting a drivers license later and not even owning a car doesn’t help while working as a pump jockey at a gas station that does mechanical work is a learning opportunity that went away years ago with a few exceptions here and there. Local drag strips are going away and auto racing in general has less attraction to the young when previously it was a strong draw to the automotive field.
What many young people don’t realize is working on cars is a lot different than it was not long ago, the preponderance of computerized controls throughout the vehicle, not just on the engine, makes the technician’s job a lot more challenging and, as a result, a career path that leads to high pay because of the high skills necessary. The young guy that loves computers can find a lot to like in a modern car.
There are several technical schools around the country with excellent programs for future technicians, local colleges and trade schools offer courses, even a fascinating book for the budding hacker who wants to know more about the tech side of the control systems and how get a little more performance from the car in his driveway.
If you’re young and looking for a great career, if you like working hands on instead of living in the land of cubicles, you might want to think about it. The job isn’t going to be outsourced, either, the local dealership needs you right there, right now. Sounds like opportunity to me. How about you?