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Military Veterans to Combat Technician Shortage

In a recently published article on “Combating the Technician Shortage” by Greg Settle, director of national initiatives at TechForce Foundation, Settle stated that, “every direction you turn today, you see advertisements for auto technicians and countless other skilled trades. The shortage in most of these trades has reached epidemic proportions. If we are serious about filling our future technician pipeline, we need to up our game as an industry.” 

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The industry needs to recognize the high turnover problem and associated cost impacting bottom line performance and customer satisfaction, teaming with companies that offer a unique solution by providing top-notch transitioning military employees as a key to reducing employee turnover (which averages over 27% per year). 

Dealerships should consider associating with military bases to help coordinate the hiring of qualified military personnel transitioning into the civilian workforce, by contracting with recruiters from within the military community.

Considering the high employee “preventable” turnover within dealerships, the demand for hiring qualified personnel is great (see statistics from NADA and the Work Institute), growing at a rate of 6% per year, with a cost of $600 billion per year, and demand exceeding supply for the first time in modern history.

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Studies show preventable turnover makes up 77% of the total reasons for leaving, versus less preventable reasons such as termination, relocation and retirement. Reducing preventable turnover by only 10% would save over $47 billion per year.

Another avenue that needs improvement is in schools that push a “college for all” mentality, Settle said. “Countless numbers of young men and women badly needed in the skilled trades over the years have not given those occupations so much as a casual glance, much less serious consideration.”

One such solution is working with high school, trade schools and military guidance counselors to promote apprenticeship opportunities to students and veterans who do not express an interest in pursuing college. Considering that the average cost of college is $35,000 per year and the average salary of an apprentice automotive technician is $45,000, the opportunities to fill the shortage of positions is amazing.

With over 225,000 veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce each year, dealers should find partners with a solid database of highly experienced military candidates. What better way of filling a critical demand to secure and retain technicians, than placing highly skilled and loyal veterans into the civilian workforce? It is a win-win, filling a much-needed demand for qualified and loyal employees and going above and beyond a company’s civic and patriotic duty to those who sacrificed for our country’s freedom. 

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