An interesting idea published in Automotive News shares how some Texas dealers are gaining more technicians while helping people in need, namely military veterans. These Texas dealers created a 500-hour training program titled "Ford's Technicians of Tomorrow,” that launched in the Fall of 2020. It trains these military veterans in shop safety, warranty fundamentals, technical writing, and express service. The training results in certification as a chassis master by Ford and each graduate also receives tools valued at $4,000.
Participating dealers sponsor these students who agree to work at one of the sponsoring dealerships to further their training and knowledge while employed in a full-time position, which inevitably leads to increased shop capacity. The sponsorships are also seeded by participating dealerships, Ford Motor Company, and the Texas Workforce Solutions of Central Texas.
This model could be an amazing opportunity for dealerships in other states to gain technicians and incorporate them into their company culture while increasing their capacity to service customers. Warranty work is typically less desirable than customer pay (CP) opportunities. Dealerships need revenue and the service department is held accountable for its department’s profit so many dealerships choose more lucrative ROs over warranty and recall work. This explains why some dealers are turning to recalls, which are considered warranty work, but consistently match in CP revenue. In addition, 49 states have passed legislation that mandates OEMs reimburse at the full retail rate for parts and service, as long as the dealership applies for the adjustment.
This program in Texas brings in technicians that have been trained thoroughly before joining the team, so dealerships also gain a technician certified by the OEM. And it provides an opportunity to help our former military service personnel in the process.
I also thought this was a great point made by Sam Pack, who owns four dealerships that participate in the program. In the article, he stated, "They're more mature candidates. They generally have families, are very punctual and very disciplined." Who doesn’t want a technician like that, much less an employee in general?
Technicians are getting increasingly hard to find and dealerships are up against their competitors trying to “outbid” each other and recruit at a higher cost. Why not gain trained technicians and do a good deed for those who have served our country at the same time? It creates a whole new pool of automotive technicians. And now you don’t have to rely so much on future generations to enter the automotive technician job pool. Consider forming a similar opportunity in your state. It’s working for Texas dealers. Why can’t it work for your state?