It’s no surprise that there is a shortage of skilled trade workers in the United States and Utah is right there in the thick of it.  According to a recent Forbes article 53% of skilled trade workers are over the age of 45.  An astounding 19% are between the ages of 55 and 64.

Darren Erwin, Service Director for Larry H. Miller Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Riverdale tells me that for every new fully trained technician he hires, there are two retiring.  Furthermore, having technicians pirated by other dealerships, suffering in their own need for skilled workers, is a daily problem.  Although a technician isn’t paid an hourly wage, a good mechanic can earn upwards of $100,000.  You’d think that for those wages, you’d have candidates banging on the doors to apply.  Not the case!

“For two or three generations, the focus has been to go to college, get a degree and in doing so you will ensure a brighter future with more access to employment,” Genevieve Stevens, interim dean for instruction at Houston Community College’s central campus, told the Houston Chronicle. “We started focusing on academic instruction, but left behind the notion of work-force education. However, in a two-year institution that costs less, the average work-force student can come out of that program with skills to gain immediate employment.”

So, what does this mean for our local dealerships?

John Fox, director of Fiat Chrysler’s Performance Institute, said that the automaker’s United States dealerships could absorb 5,000 technicians over the next two years, having hired 3,000 in the last two.  This is where our local Tech Colleges and Universities are stepping it up.  Davis Technical College offers 3 automotive trade programs ranging from 7 to 15 month; Automotive Technology, Diesel / Heavy Duty Technology and Motor Sports Technician.  Ogden-Weber Technical College offers their 9-month Automotive Technician Maintenance and Light Repair certificate.  And even Weber State is getting into the game with 9 different degree and certificate programs in automotive technology.

The need to keep America’s automobiles moving is real.  If you know someone interested in getting into a wonderful career while making some good money, support our local colleges and universities.  For questions about the opportunities in automotive technologies check out the resources below.

Darren Erwin, Larry H. Miller CJDR in Riverdale 801-398-2853

Jessica Slater, Weber State University 801-626-6577