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Leadership Forum Covers Talent Shortage, Cybersecurity, Service Info

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ANAHEIM, Calif., Aug. 11, 2016—The second-annual Service Repair Leadership Forum was held Thursday during the 2016 NACE/CARS Expo & Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim.

MC Donny Seyfer, chairman of the Automotive Service Assocation, offered brief introduction before introducing the first panel, composed of Jeff Peevy, president of the Automotive Management Institute; Trish Serratore, of the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation; Chris Chesney, senior director of customer training, CARQUEST Technical Institute; and Brian Cruickshank, director, University of the Aftermarket. The panel discussed the industry's perceived talent shortage and ways of finding new talent.

When it comes to finding new talent, Serratore said that shop owners need to be having one-on-one conversations with guidance counselors, particularly those who aren't involved with CTE programs. Serratore said that the message to those counselors should be that the automotive industry not only offers a variety of career paths, it's also the original Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Cruickshank said many counselors are persuaded after hearing that 100 percent of University of the Aftermarket students have multiple job offers after graduation.

Cruickshank said that similar conversations need to take place with parents, also, to reverse the negative image of the industry.

Next, Chesney said that effective onboarding needs to be a priority. All too often, the burden of tool purchasing falls on the technician, whereas Chesney believes it should be the shop owner's responsibility. Doing so eliminates barriers of entry for technicians who cannot afford the costly tools and ensures that workflow processes and efficiencies can be implemented effectively. Chesney recommended working with vendors, such as CARQUEST, to create tool purchasing programs.

Finally, all panelists agreed that training is the most effective way to keep talent. Chesney suggested designating an employee "learning manager" and task that employee with identifying training needs and gaps in employees. 

Beyond new talent, the Forum also covered:

  • How to avoid cybersecurity issues in your shop
  • The latest repair information techniques and time saving ways to improve your shop’s bottom line
  • Shop and/or technician licensing 
  • The future of the service repair shop

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