Dealers May Want to Head to High School

One dealer group filled tech shortages with recent secondary school grads.

Steve Finlay, Senior Editor

October 4, 2023

2 Min Read
Industry must add 76,000 technicians annually to fill vacancies, says NADA.Getty Images

The answers to dealerships’ tech shortages may be as close as their local high schools.

Recruiting such prospects has helped the 15-store Tasca Automotive Group headquartered in Cranston, RI.

“It’s all of our responsibility as an industry to motivate these young men and women to think about our industry as a career,” Bob Tasca III (pictured, below left), vice president-fixed operations for Tasca Automotive Group, says during a recent Ted Ings’ Fixed Ops conference. “If we all do that collectively, we’ll find the auto techs we need, he told attendees. Our stores are way up in tech count.”

Bob tasca.jpg

Bob tasca

His family’s dealerships represent 15 automotive franchises in three New England states.

The key to enlisting prospects is to make them aware of the high wages, employment security and job portability that is available to technicians at all levels.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports the auto industry employs about 750,000 service technicians. Nearly half of them work at new-car dealerships.To keep pace with retirements and new jobs in the sector, the industry needs to replace about 76,000 technicians each year, according to the National Automobile Dealers Assn.

Yet new entrants are not keeping pace with demand, says the trade group, noting that technical colleges and training programs graduate about 37,000 new technicians annually.

The opportunity intrigues students, and Tasca has proof it can work. He recalls that during one of his periodic high-school classroom appearances, the teacher showed him a text message from a former student who had followed Tasca’s advice and became an auto technician.

The young man said in the text, “You tell Bob Tasca everything he said (about the benefits of an auto-technician career) is true.”     

Tasca says, “He included a picture of his pay stub. He was on pace to make $74,000 a year – one year out of high school. The instructor told me, ‘He’ll be out earning me soon.’”

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