As we noted in our last issue of this newsletter, it seems like everyone in the industry is all about the technicians and the shop owner. We discussed the various industry events and shows occurring throughout our industry, all vying for the technician’s attention and attendance at their trade show or conference. Well, now we are pleased to note a couple of recent items that have crossed my desk over the last several weeks with events and activities geared specifically to the future of our industry at the shop level.
As we have previously noted, NACE and CARS are quickly moving toward their revamped show this summer, relocated to Detroit and scheduled for July 30 to Aug. 2 of this year. Sponsors expect the show to feature more than 50,000 square feet of exhibit space and another 30,000 dedicated to live demonstrations and show cars. Additionally, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers will sponsor an OEM Technology & Innovation Expo at the NACE/CARS shows this summer.
Well, now we hear that CARS has introduced a new offering at this summer’s show “designed specifically for the young technicians who shop owners believe have the skills to be all-star technicians,” the Young Technician’s Symposium – to be presented for the first time at CARS. The program – targeting the two- to three-year techs – is a program the Automotive Service Association (ASA) has worked with Bosch to produce, focusing on solutions to address the challenges young technicians face during their initial years on the job.
Donny Seyfer, chairman-elect of ASA, which sponsors CARS, said Bosch recently conducted a trial training program with members of ASA-Colorado, and out of that came the idea to put together a two-day, four-session intensive program that would teach young techs with two or more years’ experience real-world diagnostic skills. The sessions will give the younger techs “a firm grasp of basic electronics, gas and diesel engine management, sensors and actuators, and electronic brake management, including ABS and vehicle stability systems,” according to the NACE/CARS press release.
Similarly, in late May, I noted that the folks at Tenneco are extending access to its Monroe Ride & Drive seminar and Walker Emissions Control Diagnostics workshops to include visits to technical schools like Universal Technical Institute, WyoTech, Lincoln Technical Institute and others.
“The Monroe and Walker training programs provide a solid springboard for you to speed repair times, accurately diagnose worn components, connect with customers to explain complex repairs and more,” said Chuck Osgood, manager of training and sales operations, North American aftermarket, Tenneco. “Shop owners and service and parts professionals also will have an opportunity to connect with the next generation of technicians this year.”
These are the types of things this industry must do to put people into the service bays to do the work the American vehicle owners need to be done. We all know the crushing impact the Boomer demographic will have on all businesses, and especially as it impacts the auto care industry. And, as important as it is to replace leadership at the highest ends of our industry, it is literally vital to get enough qualified young people into the service bays to “throw away the boxes” of the parts sold.
I certainly applaud these efforts, and hope more and more of the training opportunities in this industry are opened and introduced to those working toward becoming tomorrow’s techs.
The need is too great, and the repairs too complex to do otherwise.
Gary A. Molinaro
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