In this episode of WrenchWay Weekly, we discuss simple and effective strategies that shop owners and managers can use to help get more students entering the industry. Watch the full episode, or review the episode highlights below.
How Does Your Shop Get Involved With Schools?
In a recent WrenchWay Insiders poll, we asked, “How does your shop get involved with local high schools and/or technical schools?” Let’s look at the survey results:
- Career fairs: 27.1%
- Donations: 16.7%
- Presentations: 4.17%
- Other: 37.5%
The vast majority of responses that fell into the “Other” category specified that their shop does not get involved with local schools. Many respondents commented their shop would not disrupt productivity with activities that don’t have a direct monetary value.
Some Shops Have A Time-Is-Money Mindset
While 80% of survey respondents agreed that shop involvement with schools is important, many technicians shared similar comments relating to “time is money.” It’s the classic dilemma for all businesses, especially smaller shops. The immediate need to focus on revenue-generating pursuits often outweighs future goals. Getting more students to enter the industry isn’t often top priority for shop owners.
Shops Can Take A Step Back To Move Forward
The shortage of technicians is an ongoing issue that won’t go away on its own. A forward-thinking shop can help address this labor issue by taking a step back to reflect on its operations. This action involves working “on” the business in addition to working “in” the business.
Creating or enhancing a relationship with schools should be part of this strategic outlook. While some shops are reluctant to become involved with schools for fear of financial commitments, there are other ways to foster a connection, such as:
- Make the shop a source of information on products and practices
- Donate non-functioning components (like a blown engine)
- Encourage manufacturers to donate supplies and materials
At the same time, shop owners and managers should look for opportunities to engage with future technicians. According to a WrenchWay Insiders poll, 92.3% of technicians would be willing to talk about their job at a school presentation. A first-hand account of the industry like this could excite and inspire more students to enter the field.
With some modest effort, the shop-to-school relationship can easily become a mutually beneficial affiliation.
Want to Learn More? Check Out Our Roundtable Recording
How Shops & Schools Can Attract More Students to the Industry
In this roundtable, we discussed the current status of technician programs at the high school level, as well as the perception students, parents, and counselors have about a career in the automotive and diesel industries.
We brought in a diverse panel to help uncover what has (or hasn’t) changed at the high school level, what needs to improve, the challenges shop programs face, and, most important, how shops can help schools.