The automotive industry responding to the need for qualified service technicians continued this week with an automaker joining the effort.
Volkswagen said it recognizes the need for vehicles to be in the hands of students to help educate and equip tomorrow’s technicians with the tools necessary for future employment.
During the next few months, Volkswagen announced it will donate 31 Atlas SUVs and diagnostics equipment to high-school auto technician programs, technical schools and career centers across the country.
To help address the growing need for trained automotive technicians who understand both the hardware and the increasingly complex software in modern vehicles, Volkswagen acknowledged simply learning the nuts and bolts of automotive repair no longer suffices.
“There is a national shortage of technicians, and it’s expected to grow as many technicians are, or are very close to, retirement age.
We have to start looking for avenues to backfill these individuals,” Volkswagen national service operations manager Jon Meredith said in a news release.
Today, more than 770,000 people work as automotive technicians and mechanics across the country, according to federal government estimates.
While the overall number of roles remains steady, federal labor experts and the automotive industry estimate the need for new technicians at tens of thousands of workers per year just to maintain current openings demand that’s greater than what trade schools can currently supply with graduates.
“As an industry, we need to come up with different ways of thinking and doing to attract young people to this industry,” said Meredith, while adding that as a vehicle manufacturer, Volkswagen sees tremendous value in partnering with dealers and the technical and trade schools in their markets to bring both the Volkswagen product and diagnostic equipment to the younger generation considering a career in the automotive industry.