One-third of all U.S. auto dealers hired at least one military veteran between January 2006 and March of this year, according to Automotive Retailing Today.
Since 2004, nearly 30,000 vets have been hired in the industry, according to ART, a coalition of dealers and auto makers.
Dealers are experiencing a shortfall in employment nationwide. While they report a steady flow of customers, nearly 109,000 jobs remain open, says ART.
“America's franchised auto dealers are hanging out the help-wanted sign,” says Carter Myers III, chairman of ART and a Virginia dealer. “There is a great demand for qualified, technical savvy and educated employees.”
In January 2004, ART formed a partnership with the U.S. military, promoting dealership hiring of recent military veterans. It is called “Hire the Heroes.” Auto dealers are provided links to military outplacement agencies to post job openings.
“Many U.S. veterans leave the service with significant technical and management training that is immediately transferable to auto dealerships, particularly in the area of auto technicians,” says Charles S. Ciccolella, assistant secretary of labor for Veterans' Employment and Training.
The employee shortage at dealerships is due to growing dealership customer services, retirements and strong vehicle sales, according to the National Automobile Dealers Assn.
U.S. regions reporting the greatest need are South Atlantic, West South Central and Midwestern states.