Every year thousands of automotive technician positions go unfilled due to a shortage of skilled labor. That’s a similar story to many other skilled trades, too, but one of the obvious areas of need is auto shop mechanics.
Think about how often we drive in Georgia, and then think about how often you have issues with your car, be it the mundane (oil change) or the more technical help modern cars need. The need for quality mechanics is there, but unfortunately the amount of skilled labor doesn’t match that need.
The Augusta Chronicle had a great piece this week on how difficult it is for area shops to staff up enough to meet the labor demand.
“We’ve been looking for good mechanics for years,” William Sasser, the owner of Sasser Automotive, told The Chronicle. “You can’t pull into any garage or dealership in Augusta that isn’t facing the same problem.”
One issue facing shops today is the modern car is more of a computer than anything else. That requires more technical chops than an old-school mechanic might have at his or her disposal.
That means high schools and technical colleges have to prepare the future workforce in a way many current mechanics never had to.
The good news is help is on the way thanks to many high schools and technical colleges in Georgia. Augusta Technical College, for example, has more than 100 students currently enrolled in its automotive tech program.
The program can take as little as four full-time semesters (or six night-school semesters) before a student earns a degree. For those who want to earn technical certificates without a degree that option exists, too, which can speed up the time between starting school and beginning to see a paycheck.
There are several other options within the Technical College System of Georgia for earning an automotive technology degree, and those degrees carry weight.
One automotive teacher at a local Augusta high school said the job placement rate is at 95 percent for those earning an automotive mechanics degree. Take it from someone who graduated with a liberal arts degree… that’s an insanely high number.
The technical colleges and the automotive business community are acutely aware of the labor shortage in Georgia. The biggest obstacle for shrinking that shortage is on the student side. Too many families don’t know how great of a lifestyle being an automotive tech can provide.
If you like to work with your hands and computers, you could get into a field that pays extremely well (Porsche mechanics that work at their metro Atlanta plant can earn well above $100,000) and will feature a level of job security someone like myself could only dream of (seriously kids… majoring in history and journalism sounds fun until you need a job).