Are you having trouble finding qualified automotive technicians to employ in your service center? Of course you are. Everybody is. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 76,000 mechanics are needed each year between 2016 and 2026, both to replace those retiring or leaving the industry and to fill some 46,000 projected new openings, and supply simply isn’t meeting those numbers. The increasing size and complexity of the vehicles Americans are driving are only increasing demand for qualified technicians.
To try and fill the need for qualified technicians, some auto dealerships and even automakers have banded together and created their own training programs. Since service represents an average of about 12 percent of dealers’ total revenue (according to NADA), shortages of qualified employees can cut into profits.
In Memphis, auto dealers are taking the matter in hand by opening a first-of-its-kind (in the South, anyway) technician training school called The Moore Tech Automotive Technical School. The facility, which began construction last month, is owned by the Greater Memphis Auto Dealers Association, a consortium of about 50 dealerships. Students who attend will graduate with a two-year Associates Degree and the opportunity to earn ASE Student Certifications. The school is expected to help fill the gaps in demand for qualified automotive technicians. (It’s estimated that there are between 100 and 200 unfilled job openings in the greater Memphis area alone right now, some with starting salaries of about $45,000 per year.)
“The Greater Memphis Auto Dealers Association is extremely proud to be breaking ground on this joint project with Moore Tech as the graduates of this program will directly provide Greater Memphis Automotive Dealerships with the qualified technician candidates that are very much in demand.” GMADA President Kent Ritchey said.
Classes will be taught using resources from Moore Tech, a privately owned two-year vocational school. The new facility, which will be located on the site of the former Dobbs Honda at 2785 S. Mendenhall Road in Memphis, plans to open an exterior shop in September of this year, which will allow for a small class to being training right away. Full enrollment will begin in 2019. To qualify, students must have a high school diploma or GED. After students complete a semester of the training program, they’ll be eligible to be placed in an on-the-job training program at Memphis area dealerships.
“We’ve been in Memphis since 1937 but this is one of the biggest days in the history of the school,” Moore Tech President Skip Redmond said.