Auto Industry Leaders Hope to Solve Shop Staffing Shortfalls

Mar 4, 2016

The challenge of recruiting and properly training talented automotive technicians was the lead topic of the National Automotive Service Task Force’s (NASTF) Spring meeting, held last Wednesday in Overland Park, Kansas.

“The automotive service industry has been very good to me, but I won’t recommend it to my daughters for their careers,” said Kevin FitzPatrick, president of Autologic Diagnostics. “And it’s not because of the pay scale. It’s because it’s disorganized and doesn’t take advantage of the most talented kids that come to us.”

On this topic Rob Morrell, training director for WORLDPAC, moderated a series of presentations from experts including:

•    FitzPatrick, Autologic Diagnostics
•    Bob Augustine, Christian Brothers Automotive
•    Mark Saxonberg, Toyota Motor Sales
•    Jill Saunders, Toyota Motor Sales
•    Kurt Immekus, Volkswagen
•    John Latner, ACDelco
•    Trish Serratore, NATEF/AYES
•    Scott Brown, iATN
•    Chris Chesney, CARQUEST Technical Institute

The challenge of finding qualified technicians is well documented in the automotive service industry and that challenge is expected to become even greater as vehicle technology continues to proliferate, according to NASTF.

“It’s essential we figure how to keep the pipeline of new students full and how to make them great technicians for a lifetime,” Saxonberg said.

“We need to drop our brand and affiliations and come together on this,” Chesney challenged. “Our industry needs to adopt a single, common message that will connect with technicians from high school through retirement.”

Presenters portrayed a disorganized industry highlighting several competing initiatives from both the automaker’s and the aftermarket.

“We have many great training programs and several respectable student recruiting programs,” Morrell said. “I hope this discussion compels organization.”

NASTF is inviting all industry stakeholders to engage in the discussion to find a solution to this critical need, according to the group. NASTF’s Education Committee will continue the work hatched during the Spring meeting.

The entire three-hour meeting, including reports from each of NASTF’s six project committees was webcast by iATN and available for viewing above.

NASTF was established in 2000 to identify, communicate and resolve gaps in the availability and accessibility of automotive service information, service training, diagnostic tools, and equipment for the benefit of automotive service professionals and their customers. NASTF was incorporated in 2006 as a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization.