To our readers: GoodCall® continues its look at programs designed to promote career options for both college students and people who follow other paths. Earlier, Terri Williams examined a data science boot camp. Below, she chronicles an auto repair internship program designed for those for whom college may not be the best option.
Economists, educators, recruiters, and HR managers agree that a college degree has become the de facto requirement for most jobs that pay a living wage. In fact, a recent report reveals that 41% of employers hire college grads for jobs formerly held by high school grads. But skilled trade workers, especially those with formal auto repair training, remain in demand.
Moran Family of Brands, one of the country’s top franchises of transmission and general automotive repair and accessories, is providing opportunities for students to gain the proper skills needed to pursue a career in this field. It recently launched its Future Tech internship program for high school and vocational students.
Two types of auto repair internships
Barb Moran, president and CEO of Moran Family of Brands, tells GoodCall® that there are two types of internships: nonpaid and paid. “The Automotive Shop internship is a nonpaid internship that is geared more toward individuals who haven’t yet figured out what they would like to do, and want to find out more about the automotive industry.” It’s for high school juniors, seniors, or those just entering vocational school. “The program is for a maximum of 25 hours per week over a three-month period,” Moran explains, adding that students may request a three-month extension.
In this internship, students are in a real-world environment with technicians and shop managers. They observe employees and learn how to perform such functions as vehicle inspections and vehicle maintenance, in addition to learning how to properly complete paper work.
“The Technician Internship, which is the paid internship, is geared toward those who already made that commitment of going to a vocational school and want to increase their skills as well as prepare for their future,” Moran explains. These students have recently or will soon graduate from vocational school. Depending on the franchise, students may work anywhere from 30 to 40 hours a week and are paid an entry-level wage. The Technician Internship lasts for six months, and interns may be hired at the program’s conclusion.
Moran Family of Brands has 120 locations, and Moran says the auto repair internships are offered at participating locations.
The importance of this type of program
“The reason this internship program is so important is to hopefully inspire the younger generation to look toward the trades such as the automotive aftermarket,” Moran explains. “The skills gap that is present in this country is going to continue to grow as the baby boomers retire, which will have a tsunami effect.” Moran says the goal of the internships is to introduce younger generations to the automotive trades.
“Growing up in the automotive industry, I had the opportunity to see my father and many others find success working in the trades and becoming business owners,” Moran explains. “I’ve always had a great admiration for those who work with their hands and became entrepreneurs.” And she believes that younger generations need to be shown the same opportunities.
Mark Stoner is the owner and founder of Ashbusters Chimney Service, a multimillion-dollar service business and the author of Blue Collar Gold: How to Build a Service Business from the Dirt Up. Stoner tells GoodCall®, “This type of program is critically important for these students to learn because they are the least likely to be replaced by technology or their jobs to be done by an overseas workforce.”
Stoner explains, “These jobs will always need an actual person to complete them and another real upside for these students is that the law of supply and demand will allow almost all tradesmen to be able to charge higher and higher rates.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive service technicians and mechanics earn a median pay of $38,470 per year, or $18.50 per hour. However, the BLS reports that wages can range from a low of $21,470, to a high of $64,070. The BLS also projects a 5% growth rate or an additional 39,100 new jobs through 2024.
“Another benefit of the technical school program is that the students are not going into huge amounts of debt to start their careers,” Stoner says. “The fact that 15% of retirees still have student debt to pay off ought to prompt people take a serious look at this very viable and needed career path.”