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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

Program aims to address national shortage of auto technicians, starting in NOLA and Baton Rouge

A partnership between the National Automobile Dealers Association, the National Urban League, and the Urban League of Louisiana has launched a program aimed at addressing the national shortage of automotive technicians. The program is designed to get students into well-paying jobs at dealerships in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

The first class of the 18-month apprenticeship program consists of 12 students at Delgado Community College and nine students at Baton Rouge Community College. Students will work full-time at local auto dealerships and earn starting wages of $14.25 an hour. After completing the program, the students will be certified mechanics.

According to Will Green, the president of the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association, there is a national shortage of between 300,000 to 400,000 automotive technicians due to retiring baby boomers and the number of people who left the workforce during the COVID pandemic. Green said that the average auto technician in Louisiana earns $71,000 annually, but more needs to be done to advertise these well-paying jobs.

With the sophisticated electronic systems in automobiles today and the increasing number of electric vehicles, technicians are more likely to diagnose problems with a laptop. Cherie Duckworth, vice president for workforce development with the Urban League of Louisiana, said the goal of the program is to move people from unemployment into jobs where they can have a career and earn a “savings wage.”

The program will be boosted by a $1.2 million appropriation secured by U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, that will allow the Urban League to expand apprenticeship programs. While the National Automobile Dealers Association budgeted money for one cycle of classes, Duckworth said the hope is to expand the program by offering apprenticeships at other community colleges in Louisiana and across the U.S.


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