Tackling the Technician Shortage Together (Panel 2)
Heavy-Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW)’s SOLD! brought a wide range of diesel industry experts to Grapevine, Texas this year to discuss hot topics in trucking today. The first panel dealt with the impact of supply chain stress on the truck parts market. The second panel focused on ways to get involved at the community level to advocate for the trucking industry in schools. The focus of this discussion was creating work-based education opportunities for students so that they can enter the workforce with a strong career path as diesel technicians. The discussion was led by George Arrants of ASE, with guests Eric Rubio; Mike Miller; Kristen Boroski; David Clark; Roger May; and Brian Screeton.
The panel began with George Arrants of ASE talking about some of the common complaints about entry-level technicians and what can be done to solve those problems:
“Every one of you in this room has either heard this or said this. ‘We hired this entry-level technician from this high-powered tech school… We put him on a job the first day and he screwed it up. Can’t believe we hired them.’ Did he screw it up or did he just do it different than you? …Did anybody in your organization mentor that individual on how you do things in your place of business? …We lose 41% of students that start in our industry in the first two years. We’re eating our young.”
The conversation then centered around how education can make a difference for any organization - big or small - and how solving the technician shortage requires new ways of teaching and new ways of thinking about how an organization does business. Mister Arrants went on to discuss the hard numbers regarding how many students (and potential technicians) were being reached… and what could be done to increase those percentages.
Mike Miller said, “I own two shops. I’ve been on advisory boards and I’ve taken students into my shop to intern. As far as our program at the high school, we cannot do it without all of you in the industry. We actually have a mandate from the State of California that says we need to provide them with post-secondary options. …But we need the industry to show up and tell us, ‘What do you want [us] to train [them] in? How do we stay relevant? As the years go by, what are you looking for?.”
Kristen Buroski, a director at the community college level, discussed the importance of this industry insight in making the decision to fund and support post-secondary training programs.
“[Industry input] is actually a requirement for most of our funding sources,” said Buroski. “...within your local community, regardless of what state you are in, there are dollars that are allocated to career technical education or vocational education programs… The question becomes, who is the champion from the industry to connect with education? …How do we leverage your expertise? How do we leverage your resources and how do we braid that with the resources that we have? …It’s critically important that you are at the table and you are voicing concerns as well as the praises of different programs that you have within your community.”
To see the complete panel from HDAW, click here or view the the video below.
To learn more about the ASE Adopt A School Program visit https://www.aseeducationfoundation.org/adoptaschool