How to Bring in Young Talent, and Build up Your Pipeline
Dwayne Myers was nominated for the 2018 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards for his role on advisory boards, committees, and organizations, as well as his fully developed and successful apprenticeship programs. But what really stands out about Myers is his ability to get millennials interested in the automotive industry.
“We had struggled for years getting young/entry level help. We were able to retain our more seasoned team members, but young minds were not interested in the automotive industry,” Myers says.
Myers is the CEO and one of three owners of Dynamic Automotive in Maryland. They have a total of four locations throughout the state. Dynamic Automotive is constantly expanding, and adding more shops to its name.
In an attempt to get young talented technicians and fill their pipeline, Myers started two apprenticeship programs through Dynamic Automotive. Their first is the youth program, and allows for junior and senior high school students to get on-the-job-experience and receive credit for their work. The second is their Registered Apprenticeship, a three-year program where apprentices work full time and gain free education that can be used toward a degree, Myers explains.
Myers’ approach and program structure gets millennials excited and involved in the industry.
Debunk the Industry Stereotypes.
In the process of getting young talent into his shops, Myers attended career nights at local high schools in his area, to constantly face the same challenge—the students’ parents didn't want their child joining the automotive industry, Myers says. They had trouble seeing past the industry’s stereotypes of being a dirty and unprofitable field to enter.
“We have tried for years to change parents’ outlook on our industry,” Myers says, “trying to explain how our industry has changed.”
But once Myers was able to show the reluctant parents that their kids will get paid, with an opportunity of free education and a future in the industry, minds began to change.
Give them a Career Path.
Before starting the two programs Dynamic Automotive has now, Myers tried to start another apprenticeship program on his own. It failed. His original program still focused on mentoring, but didn’t have a set structure, he says. He then decided to relaunch his apprenticeship program, but this time with the involvement of state of Maryland. This partnership put meat on bones of the Dynamic Automotive apprentice programs and now gives millennials a view of their future: a career path.
“Career path” for millennials is a big word, Myers says.
“We felt that we always had the program, but we never put it on paper and did not have a clear pathway for their future, something I know is critical if you want to attract young talent,” he says. “We tried and found it was through creating a good program that would give a clear pathway.”
Tell Them What it Takes.
After the Dynamic Automotive apprenticeship programs launched, Myers took 72 students on a field trip around his shop. He talked to them about the automotive business, what and how to charge customers, and what its takes to be in the industry. The discussion and tour was broad and covered a little bit of everything, and they loved it. Myers got six applications, just in the following week, with one of the students writing, “If I’m lucky to be a part of it” as a portion of one of their answers.
By showing the students and parents what being the industry truly involves, as well as their possible future, Myers is able to successfully bring in talented youth. He already has some incredible success stories of some of the apprentices that he has brought into his program, and recommends shops do the same.
“Besides having a full pipeline of talented labor, we know that we are staged to grow,” Myers says.