Over the past couple of years, we’ve looked into ways to get new people into the industry. There are technical services, organizations, and automotive schools, all working to raise the level of training and expertise throughout the transmission repair industry. Many of these entities, including ATRA, have been working at this for years. But we’re still faced with a shortage of people who are interested in transmission repair as a career. Much of it due to many not knowing that a job in this field even exists. And those that do know and go to school might not even learn the skills necessary for an entry-level position..
When you look at what this industry offers in the way of training, it’s substantial, but it’s fragmented and disorganized as a system to guide people into their new career and provide them with a path for success. For example, veteran technicians can receive the latest technical-repair and fix information from annual seminars hosted by ATRA and others like ATSG and ATS. And let’s not forget ATRA’s Powertrain Expo, the largest trade show in the world that’s solely dedicated to the transmission-repair industry. It’s great for learning the latest info coming down the pike, but a significant percentage of people attending may never have seen some of the units being covered. Perhaps what’s missing is the hands-on aspect that adds a level of familiarity to some of these late-model transmissions.
Speaking with Don Stone, a longtime ATRA member, owner of AA Quality Transmissions in Stewart, Florida, and one of the Administrators of the popular Facebook page, Transmission Brotherhood, he said it like this. “Rebuilders that go to tech seminars need to see these late-model transmissions in person.” So their group, with the help of SIU instructor and Powertrain Expo presenter, Sean Boyle are organizing a hands-on training program at Southern Illinois University this June. It’s a way to add that “hands-on” experience that’s missing at a traditional seminar.
Okay, so what about the people entering the industry? A challenge automotive colleges have is that they may not have the resources to train their students to allow them to be employable right out of college. There are various reasons for this, but suffice it to say that ATRA’s Virtual Training Solutions (VTS) is helping to bridge that gap. You see, the needs of each school vary: they may not have access to certain transmissions or other technologies, equipment, etc. that would better prepare their students for a career in the transmission industry. And… VST works on a platform that generation Z prefers; their phone. So far, 32 automotive schools incorporate VTS programming into their class curriculum (with more coming on board).
The final link to all of this is your local ATRA chapter. They’re the only ones that can connect the schools with the other forms of training, like seminars, workshops, and VTS, and bring that to the end-users; the shop owners, students, and new hires. And that’s where you come in. Page 44 shows the ATRA chapters throughout the US and Canada and their President, including their contact information. We’re looking at a big project, and they could sure use some help. Be part of the solution.
The fact is, no single entity – including ATRA – can provide the vast training requirements that meet the needs of this great industry. It requires classroom, hands-on, virtual, and seminar platforms to provide a complete training experience. I hope you’re ready because this is exciting!