African Americans are
hit especially hard by the depressed job market. Nine million Americans
are jobless, struggling to find work. The unemployment rates for African
Americans (11.8 percent) are more than double rates for whites (5.5
percent). Among young African Americans, jobless rates fall in the 20 -
30 percent range.
American industry that is driving ahead to help close skills gaps and open
doors of opportunity for African American young people is America’s
automotive sales network. The National Automobile Dealers Association,
which represents more than 49,300 new car and truck dealer franchises, is
giving a broad range of American workers access to jobs and training that
will allow them high wages and lifetime careers.
dealers have put out “Help Wanted” signs seeking to plug significant labor
shortages in the industry. Dealers coast-to-coast have mounted a major
effort to attract people with potential to be employed in
automotive-related jobs that are available now. Young African American
men and women are encouraged to apply.
are rewarding, high-paying jobs,” says the head of Automotive Retailing
Today (ART), a group representing auto manufacturers and franchise dealers
in the employee hunt. Addressing the nationwide shortage of auto service
technicians, the chairman of ART, James Willingham, says that auto dealers
“are not just looking for a few good men…and women. There are tens of
thousands of unfilled career positions available right now.” ART
officials point out
www.autojobstoday.org as a website for extensive career and training
information regarding automotive technician opportunities.
Automotive technicians are in high demand throughout the
but there is a lack of trained professionals to meet this demand. The
majority of automotive technicians are employed by automotive dealers and
the Service Department is one of the most important profit centers in a
dealership. A Service Technician's job is more skilled and challenging
than ever before. All current automobiles are equipped with sophisticated
computer-controlled devices which require highly technical skills.
Technician employment is expected to increase because of the expanding
driving-age population, consumer purchasing power and multi-car
and demand for these positions are high, which translates into high job
security, opportunities for mobility and great benefits, including
comfortable, modern working environments, health insurance and retirement
plan options. A majority of auto dealers say they need to hire at least
one new technician in the next six months; the average number of new
technicians needed is 2.1 per dealer. The study shows the shortage at
35,000 per year through 2010.
With millions of manufacturing
and white-collar jobs exiting
young African Americans may want to use their hands and heads in this
expanding employment sector. Willingham says, “It’s an employee’s market
in my industry. A key focus of the current presidential election cycle is
on the urgent need to create more jobs that pay a living wage. Well,
we’ve got them—lots of them. Now, we need qualified people to fill them”.
interested in understanding the auto technician training requirements and
career path can review information online at
www.autojobstoday.org. The site includes information about
careers, salaries and available training, and serves as a clearinghouse
for the auto dealers’ service technician career program information. Job
seekers can search for automotive training programs in their own state.
Military veterans, parents, educators, students and self-help
organizations can enter the site through customized portal pages that
feature shortcuts to information tailored to their backgrounds and
autojobstoday.org site also links to job sources, including state and
local dealer associations, auto manufacturers, and military and Department
of Labor job banks.