Recently, the Collision Repair Education Foundation and I-CAR announced their Executive Summary of the collision repair industry. This is kind of like a State of the Union for auto body repair shops. As a whole, the industry is getting more technologically proficient which is very important. As an I-CAR Gold Class designated shop, our staff members train on everything from technical facets of repair to how to improve customer satisfaction.
However, the one piece that really stuck out about this report in our eyes is that the industry as about 50,000 openings nationwide right now. Our industry is currently faced with an aging workforce. All over the country, shops are staffed with techs that have been doing the job for 25, 30 and 35 years. This is why it has never been more important to encourage high school-age kids to consider going into a skilled trade.
Beyond that, it is time again to value skilled trades and schools that teach trades. We have all the respect in the world for families who want to send their kids to college. However, young people who learn a trade often graduate with much less debt and go on to well paying jobs with benefits. With student loan debts higher than ever for new college grads, it is certainly something to consider.