Friday, 29 June 2018 16:02

TechForce Report Reveals Severity of Vehicle Tech Supply Shortage



TechForce Foundation recently released “Transportation Technician Supply Report,” a new report that reveals the growing severity of the vehicle technician supply shortage.

Based on an analysis of National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) 2011--2016 data, TechForce found that the supply of postsecondary new entrant vehicle technicians has not kept up with the spike in demand. Although the shortage has been ongoing, it became more severe in 2013, and the gap between supply and demand has continued to increase through the present. New entrant technicians are those needed to fill the growth in new positions in the occupation as well as replace those who leave the occupation. They are distinguished from experienced technicians who may move between employers, but don’t add to the overall trained workforce in the occupation.

The report reveals that auto tech postsecondary completions have been declining since 2013. The supply of postsecondary auto graduates decreased by 1,829 completions in 2016 from 2012.  There were an estimated 38,829 graduates for 2016 in contrast to the projected Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) new entrant demand of 75,900.  Private sector institutions have experienced the greatest decline while public two-year institutions (primarily community colleges) have increased substantially.

The supply of collision technicians has been steadily declining over the past six years. Conversely, total postsecondary completions for diesel programs have increased over the same period.  The projected BLS new entrant demand for diesel technicians is 28,300 annually against a supply of 11,966 in 2016. For the collision market, the projected BLS annual new entrant demand is 17,200 technicians compared to supply of 5,791 completions in 2016.

As to what can be done to alleviate the supply shortage, Jennifer Maher, CEO/executive director of TechForce said, “Our country and education system have divested in high school auto shops and stigmatized trade school education, which is killing the trades. A big part of the problem is the outdated image of the ‘grease monkey’ mechanic that students and their parents, teachers and counselors may have. Today’s techs are well-paid, highly skilled, hands-on problem solvers who are not burdened by massive school debt like their four-year school counterparts. As we change this image, we can get more students interested in becoming technicians.”

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