National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

A New Way to Tackle the Tech Shortage

Like most seemingly implacable problems, sometimes you need to think outside the box.

There are many challenges facing the trucking industry, from regulations to changes in technology to economic concerns, but the two challenges that seem to be never-ending are the shortages of drivers and technicians.

I’ve written many blogs on these shortages and suggested many ways to mitigate the problem of an aging workforce and a lack of younger workers to fill the space as these older workers retire. Recently, I wrote an IdeaXchange blog that dealt with the tech shortage and a new way of thinking about it.

At a recent NationaLease meeting, featured speaker Tim Spurlock, president of American Diesel Training Centers, suggested that maybe the criteria that fleets had should be reconsidered. As for-profit technical schools start to experience declining enrollment, the pool of qualified techs will only shrink. Many potential students simply can’t afford the tuition and don’t want to go too deeply into debt … so how can you capture these burgeoning techs?

Spurlock first of all suggests that fleets should stop focusing on 17- 18-year-olds (Generation Z). The fact is the job of a technician provides decent wages and benefits, something that can be extremely appealing to those who are a bit older and looking for greater job security. Please note that when I say a bit older, I’m talking Millennials, those 25 and older. What that means, however, is that a company may have to pay for some basic training for these workers. But the in-depth training that some schools provide may not be required.

Most fleets are looking for techs that can perform PMIs, work on electrical systems and brakes, and perform diagnostic procedures. They are also looking for good workers, who are on time, are able to work well with others, and who have the right attitude. This is another area where slightly more mature workers may surpass teenage workers.

Once they’ve identified and hired these techs, fleets will be responsible for going beyond “basic training,” expanding the skillsets of their workers so they can perform more difficult tasks and repairs. This will require ongoing training, something that Millennials really appreciate and value. Once you’ve hired, mentored and trained these techs, the true pathway to success is keeping them with you. Knowing what may discourage or what may encourage these workers is vitally important.

Read my IdeaXchange blog to find out how to make your technicians long-term employees.

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