TechForce Foundation has launched the FutureTech Success campaign to provide an ongoing stream of qualified technicians to the North American vehicle repair business. TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit that champions and aid aspiring vehicle technicians.
The FutureTech Success campaign was created by TechForce director of national initiatives Greg Settle and TechForce CEO and executive director Jennifer Maher. Its purpose is threefold:
- To give middle and high school students, parents, and influencers the tools and experiences to recognize and foster tactile intelligence.
- To help reposition the image of the profession.
- To 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,” said Settle.
TechForce created a website, www.futuretechsuccess.org, that contains all of the information needed for students to ascertain their interest and aptitude for a technical career.
The website aims to assist students in becoming technicians by providing resources such as after school and summer camp programs, a listing of technical schools, available internships and scholarships, a job board, needed certifications, industry events, and industry associations.
Through the FutureTech success campaign, TechForce aims to serve as a collective hub for aspiring technicians by harnessing resources that exist throughout the industry, collecting packaging, and presenting them in a one-stop-shop microsite that speaks to future techs and their parents, school counselors, youth directors and other influencers.
The campaign is also an effort to change the perception of the technician career from the traditional image of “grease monkey”. The campaign aims to show it as a desirable profession with readily available opportunities that cut across several market segments ranging from automotive, motorcycles, motorsports, and boats to medium- and heavy-duty trucks, collision repair, and massive machinery used in construction, mining, and agriculture.
“Not that this image was ever deserved, but today it is simply absurd,” Maher said. “The complexity of today’s vehicles rival some of the most sophisticated aircraft —and the technical and computer knowledge, as well as the tactile and STEM skills required to work on them, is truly amazing.”
Fourteen corporations have signed on as partners to the campaign: Advance Auto Parts, Autoshop Solutions, AutoZone, Babcox Media, Bridgestone Retail Operations, Cengage, General Motors, George Arrant Enterprises, Interstate Batteries, Nissan North America, Snap-on, Shell Lubricants, S/P2, Sunstate Equipment, 10 Missions Media and Universal Technical Institute.
It is also being supported by high profile industry associations such as the Auto Care Association, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, the Automotive Service Association, the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association, Arkansas Trucking Association, the Automotive Training Managers Council, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, SkillsUSA, Automotive Youth Educational Systems, Collision Repair Education Foundation, National Automotive Service Task Force, and the American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council.
In the near future, TechForce will also launch I-Hub, a resource hub for industry, so that best practices to attract, develop, train, hire, recruit and retain technicians can be easily shared.
TechForce recently released a report examining the worsening technician shortage, showing that it demand is expected to be much higher in the next decade.
“Not only is there a tech shortage, it’s much worse than we thought,” Settle said. “That being the case, the opportunities abound in this industry.”