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Students at a TechForce Foundation career fair.

Some tools to help fix the technician shortage

Industry needs to focus on parents and influences of “peripheral” students — those kids 13-18 years old who are drawn to hands-on, do-it-yourself, mechanically minded activities.

Talk to most anyone in the trucking industry about what they are concerned about and somewhere in the conversation you’ll hear them mention the technician shortage. The reality is the industry is already short of technicians and that shortage is predicted to only get worse.

Speaking at a recent NationaLease maintenance meeting Greg Settle, director of national alliances at TechForce Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on championing and aiding aspiring transportation technicians, said the industry needs to focus on parents and influences of “peripheral” students — those kids 13-18 years old who are drawn to hands-on, do-it-yourself, mechanically minded activities.

The goal of TechForce Foundation’s FutureTech Success campaign is to convert the mindset of these parents and influences so instead of being naysayers they become champions of a technician career path for these students.

Settle said it is going to take a combination of marketing, using a collective voice and providing hands-on experiences to reach this target audience. A successful marketing campaign has to use traditional, digital and social media to address the critical issues of image and opportunity.

Some elements of the FutureTech Success campaign include:

  • Industry Hub (I-Hub) Management Resources — a one-stop-shop for industry professionals to access resources to inspire, develop, attract, recruit, hire and retain technicians
  • I-Hub Marketing Toolbox — shared messages and marketing resources
  • Coordinated Content — editorial, social and advertising across properties/channels
  • New Entrant Technician Demand Report — accurate, up-to-date statistics on how many future techs are needed

The purpose of the hands-on experience strategy part of the program is to provide resources and experiences for students interested in becoming technicians. The goal is to engage middle- and high school students with transportation technology, STEM skills and mentors. It uses web-based challenges, community programs and grassroots outreach.

There are lots of resources on the TechForce Foundation fleets can use, including videos available for posting, as well as story and marketing material sharing opportunities.

We’ve all been talking about the technician shortage; TechForce Foundation is giving us the tools to do something about it. The next step is up to you.

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