In the wake of a nationwide technician shortage, auto care centers are finding it hard to recruit and retain qualified auto techs.
“When we would place ads for technicians, we’d be limited with applications, [and] the few that applied just weren’t qualified,” said Jake Sorensen, a manager at McNeil’s Auto Care in Sandy, Utah.
His boss, Pete McNeil, decided to take a different approach. Instead of sifting through trade school graduates and unqualified applicants, McNeil proposed a new program that would harvest talent from a nearby source: his own lube bays.
“So we put together a roadmap to help train people who already work for us to become technicians,” Sorensen said. The accredited, competency-based apprenticeship program is broken up into three sections: classroom training, online training and hands-on training. At the end of each stage of the program, apprentices are eligible for a pay raise.
“I’m just really grateful for it because I found something that I can have a future in,” said Jesus Lizarraga, a graduate of the program.
NAPA AUTO PARTS is now taking the program nationwide, offering it at no cost to Autocare members.
“I’m just really excited that we can offer that path with a great career at the end,” Sorensen said.