As a hub of the automotive industry, Detroit offers a variety of careers with car companies. For students interested in automotive service technician careers, Ford Motor Company offers several experiences that equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in a dealership setting. The automotive technical career field offers many benefits to the men and women who pursue it.
Alternative education option
For some students, completing four years of classroom education isn’t feasible, says Shane Nelson, Parts and Service Operations Manager Ford’s Detroit regional office.
As a result, Ford offers training opportunities starting in high school with some in-school auto tech programs. Once the student has gotten the groundwork, they can jump into training after graduation.
“We offer very specific training in our Ford Automotive Technician Program,” says Maggie Morse, manager of Ford Technical Support Operations.
The Automotive Career Exploration program is a partnership between Ford and the dealerships with local secondary and post-secondary trade schools to help students get into automotive service technician and automotive technical careers. Many of these students start their careers through high school programs and continue once they graduate to earn a certification once they are employed at a Dealer, Morse says.
The Automotive Students Service Educational Training, or ASSET, is a paid internship program allowing students to earn while they learn. It’s a combination of classroom and hands-on experience.
The Ford Accelerated Credential Training, or FACT, is a one-year core program with 15 weeks of specialized training. In partnership with Universal Technical Institute, this program offers nationwide opportunities for employment after graduation.
Morse encourages students to find out what automotive programs are available at their schools or decide what program they would like to explore after graduation. Students should look for part-time work within the Dealer’s service area to find a position that fits their interests.
Demand is growing
“The demand in this area is very strong. We need eager people who really want to do this as a career,” Nelson says. “If someone has the aptitude, there are fantastic careers in automotive dealerships.”
There is an extreme shortage of automotive service technicians nationwide, and over the next few years Ford will hire several thousand auto technical employees to fill that void.
“Not only are the baby boomers retiring, but the exposure of the younger generation to the career hasn’t been great because for so long, everyone has been college-focused and encouraging students to go that route,” Morse says.
The industry will need an estimated 76,000 auto technicians over the next 10 years, and many of those will be needed in Detroit.
Ford is working with the Southeast Michigan Ford dealerships to make sure they are prepared to attract and bring on new talent, Morse adds.
High-tech work environments
The Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers have invested significantly in their dealerships, Nelson says, as a way to attract and retain quality people.
“It’s not the grease monkey mentality anymore,” Nelson says. “Our auto technicians are sharp folks who are well educated and use the latest tools and equipment to do the job. It’s a different career than what it was 20 to 30 years ago.”
Automotive service technicians and technical careers aren’t for everyone, Nelson says.
“No two days are alike. We are looking for people who like variety in their day,” Nelson says. “Those successful in this field like to work with their hands, but also like to work with computers. They are problem solvers and like to figure out the root cause of a problem.”
To learn more about automotive technical careers with Ford, visit NewFordTech.com.