The U.S. will be short approximately 642,000 automotive, diesel, and collision technicians by 2024 if current trends hold, according to a new study by TechForce Foundation.
The Phoenix, Ariz.-based non-profit group has just released its 2020 Transportation Technician Supply & Demand Report, with its conclusion that the transportation technician shortage continues to worsen.
The 2020 Technician Supply & Demand Report supplements the Foundation’s previous reports, adjusting prior projections to reflect research from the National Center for Education Statistics and TechForce’s own analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Citing both increasing demand for professional techs and a declining supply of new techs entering the industry, the update concludes that the technician shortage is increasing in severity despite a slight uptick in new post-secondary degrees and certificates for future diesel technicians.
“Although demand is strong, with 642,000 auto/diesel/collision techs needed between 2020 and 2024, the shortage continues to worsen,” said Jennifer Maher, TechForce CEO. “The good news is these careers have been deemed essential by the government, and the transportation industry is organizing to do something about the shortage. TechForce’s campaigns are leveraging the industry’s collective voice to inspire the next generation of technicians and address the root causes of the shortage.”
Recent surveys show an increased interest in transportation technology work, both among younger students and career changers whose jobs may have been lost or furloughed because of the pandemic. Surveys of high school students show that more than half are open to something other than a four-year degree.
The report concludes that for both the near- and long-term, the only sustainable solution is to:
Focus as an industry on increasing awareness of the career opportunities that exist for new entrant transportation technicians
Turn that awareness into interest
Turn that interest into enrolments in our high school and postsecondary training programs
Engage with schools to bring their students into mentorships and apprenticeships to bridge the students’ gap between education and industry
Turn those mentorships and apprenticeships into employees
Retain those employees through competitive pay, good benefits and a great company culture focused on caring for its employees
According to TechForce Director of National Initiatives Greg Settle, who authored the report, “Our projections do not reflect potential impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are seeing indications of increased interest in technical program enrollments. With our next report at year-end, we expect to be able to provide further insight into COVID-19 related trends.”
“Despite record rates of unemployment, there continues to be strong demand for our graduates,” says Jerome Grant, CEO of Universal Technical Institute. “Employers need skilled technicians to fill essential jobs and, as many in our nation look for new paths to prosperity, we’re seeing growing interest in our programs and in technical careers.”
You can download the 2020 Technician Supply & Demand Report HERE.
TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit with the mission to champion students to and through their technical education and into careers as professional transportation technicians. TechForce distributes more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants annually, thanks to its generous corporate sponsors and donors. It also spearheads a workforce development initiative to help encourage and support more young people to pursue the vehicle technician profession.