Q&A with New TechForce Foundation Chief Growth Officer Jennifer Bergeron

Dec. 20, 2023
Jennifer Bergeron talks about joining the technician workforce not-for-profit and what she aims to do in her new role.

On November 28, 2023, TechForce Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on helping students in the technician workforce, announced the hiring of Jennifer Bergeron as its first-ever chief growth officer. 

Bergeron comes to TechForce Foundation with over 20 years of experience in technical education as part of a 13-year tenure as campus president of NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina. She says her passion “lies in building the pipeline for the next generation of professional technicians.” 

Bergeron took a moment to talk to Ratchet+Wrench about her new role and how she intends to create change from her position.

Ratchet+Wrench: What led you to TechForce Foundation?

Jennifer Bergeron: I’ve always been a fan of TechForce and the work they've done. I was exposed to TechForce through the scholarship programs they offered to post-secondary students. I've known about (TechForce) for over 10 years and have worked with them primarily in the scholarship capacity, but being in education, it was easy for me to see the opportunity firsthand. 

Part of my inspiration is talking to industry employers and knowing that there are tremendous opportunities for people who love to work with their hands. I was also inspired by seeing students—and it pulls on my heartstrings—who use their paychecks to pay for household expenses and don't have the financial means to pursue a career as an automotive technician. I saw so many cases of highly motivated students who know what they want but don't have the means to get there. TechForce Foundation has a very robust scholarship program and because of those monies and the generosity of donors, we can help them pursue their dreams. 

 

R+W: What is a Chief Growth Officer?

Bergeron: It’s a new role. What I want to do in this new capacity, ultimately, is expand our reach. I want to grow our school partnerships, our corporate partnerships and our scholarship program so we can help more future technicians, more aspiring technicians, be successful. Our work is focused on inspiring, connecting and supporting students across the country.

As chief growth officer, I want to do more to spread the word that there are great opportunities for people who prefer to work with their hands and heads. I want TechForce to become a well-known place to go and a resource for aspiring technicians and, in tandem, build respect for the trade while always continuing to tell stories and build respect for the profession in a way that keeps America moving.

R+W: Given your background in education, how do you see yourself having an impact on a family's attitudes toward the trades?

Bergeron: I've been involved in education at all levels—elementary through high school in various capacities. So, I do bring those relationships and that experience to this position. My experience provides me with real stories, real human experiences and real success stories to report to others about the opportunities in the automotive industry.

Part of what we're focusing on at TechForce is the storytelling aspect of these jobs that are available for people who want to work with their hands but don't want to take the typical four-year university route. We're emphasizing this at TechForce going forward as a mechanism to help parents and counselors. These are careers—lucrative careers—that have opportunities. We're trying to tell stories that will help kids see themselves as a professional automotive technician. We want to welcome women as one of our strategies to continue to grow. In this field, less than 3% of techs are women but 15% of TechForce scholarships are (given to) women. So, we're seeing that there's an opportunity there.

About the Author

Chris Jones | Editor

Chris Jones is the editor of Ratchet+Wrench magazine and host of its companion podcast, Ratchet+Wrench Radio, a weekly show featuring automotive professionals across the auto care landscape.

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