Auto Techs Wanted

We often hear about shortages in our nation, from nurses to teachers, and even librarians.

But there's also another shortage that could impact everyone who drives a vehicle.

These high schoolers are enrolled in the automotive youth educational systems called AYES at Lively Technical Center.

Soon, their skills will be in high demand.

“The Department of Labor estimates we'll need 60,000 technicians over the next five years,” comments Randy Houck, Florida AYES coordinator.

Local dealers say the driving force behind the shortage is first, the stigma.

Ralph Avila, from the Tallahassee Auto Dealers Association says, “They don't consider them to be high paying jobs, but entry level is around $30,000 to $100,000.

A second reason is increased technology. The average car has seven miles of wires and 12 computer systems on it so they really have to be up to date.

“It operates as a dual enrollment program, they send us interested students and we give them the training necessary so they're employable when they leave Lively,” says Joe Pons of Lively Technical Center.

School officials also say it's a positive for kids not considering college.

“So this is another way for us to provide an opportunity for those kids who don't want to go to college, they perform well academically but they simply don't want to go to college,” adds LCS Supt. Bill Montford.

Due to Thursday’s meeting, AYES coordinators expect most, if not all of Tallahassee’s 20 dealerships to participate in the program, which includes an intense mentoring initiative and financial support.