Stub tech shortage by improving image of profession

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Perception may not be the reality, but it is someone’s version of reality.

Perceptions and misconceptions about joining the labor force as a diesel technician could be contributing to the shortage of qualified technicians, Andy Stopka, Vice President of Maintenance for NationaLease, says.

“We as an industry need to make a better effort saluting excellence within the profession as a way of improving its image in the general public,” Stopka penend in a guest blog posting on the AmeriQuest Transportation Services Website.

He points to a report by the Harvard Graduate School of Education that today’s “college for all” mentality can keep students from other viable career paths as they entered adulthood. Rather than taking on crushing debt and leaving college with few marketable skills, more high school graduates should look for other paths that have real currency in today’s labor market, such as becoming a diesel technician.

Stopka, who heads one of the largest full service truck leasing organizations in North America, lauds programs like the ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council’s annual SuperTech national skills competition that applauds the knowledge and hands-on skills required by leading maintenance professionals. He also pointed to NationaLease’s Top Tech Challenge, now entering its third year, which identifies and honors the most proficient NationaLease technicians. Those winners go on to compete in SuperTech.

“We in the truck maintenance industry are convinced that more young people would pursue the career of diesel technician if they knew more about the demand for the candidates, the job satisfaction, and even the financial rewards and other benefits that come with it,” Stopka writes in his blog. “It comes to down to we as industry providing effective education of young people who have the aptitude and ability to move forward. One of the best ways of doing it is improving the image of this profession.”

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