Will Green: Louisiana Auto Dealers Partner to Train More Service Technicians
June marks National Automotive Service Professionals Month, a time to acknowledge the people who keep our increasingly complex vehicles in peak working condition.
For the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association (LADA), it’s an especially significant time to talk about those professionals as we face a severe shortage of automotive technicians. Older workers are retiring and the industry is struggling to replace them.
According to the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA), the auto industry will need approximately 80,000 more service technicians between now and the end of 2023. Unfortunately, only about 37,000 new service professionals graduate from technical schools each year.
That is why Louisiana’s auto dealers have partnered with the NADA Foundation, the National Urban League and the Urban League of Louisiana on an innovative pilot program in New Orleans and Baton Rouge to attract and train the next generation of diverse automotive service technicians.
Through the 18-month paid apprenticeship program, promising students are provided with a four-week training course that covers professional skills, financial literacy and an overview of the automotive industry. From there, students attend eight weeks of training classes certified by the National Association of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) at Baton Rouge and Delgado Community Colleges and shadow technicians already employed within dealerships. This prepares recruits for employment at dealerships.
Women and people of color are actively recruited into this apprenticeship program as a way to expose more communities to the high-paying jobs and vast professional opportunities that Louisiana’s auto dealerships provide.
While this model program is being piloted in Louisiana, the hope is that it can be replicated nationwide and create a solution to workforce issues in our industry.
Louisiana’s auto dealers have always had a passion for people and solving problems, and we hope this program will serve our community and address the industry technician shortage.
Will Green is the president of the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association