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The Journal Podcast: The Tech Shortage Crisis

The shortage of automotive technicians is having a significant impact on the industry. Does everyone need to go to college?


This week on the Journal Podcast we talk with Tech Force CEO Jennifer Maher about the near-crisis level shortage of skilled automotive technicians and what the industry is doing to address the solution. 

Thanks For listening on your device of choice — and your platform of choice! You can download or stream the show on the following platforms:


Thank you techs…
Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.


  1. I was a tech in the 90’s before quitting to go to college. It was 5 years after college before I made as much as when I was working as a mechanic. Once I did though, the opportunities for the future were much greater than ever been before. That said, I miss the job satisfaction from working with cars and still do work as a hobby. The real reason I wanted to comment is that I had the opposite experience when I was quitting for school. One customer said, “why would you want to do that? You are great at this and respected..” I found that surprising because one of the reasons I quit was because of the lack of respect for the trade and the toxic environment in the shops. If you want to recruit young people you need to change the perception that it’s a “dirty” job. And stop preaching that college is only about working toward a job. An education is important in it’s own right. The cost is obscenely high but that’s a different problem. And very soon to do this work a degree will be needed. It’s no longer a case of us vs. them. Everyone needs a complete education.

  2. As a former School Committee Chairman, I can comment first hand on the abandonment of nearly all vocational courses in most High and JR High Schools. I fought for 8 years to improve options and courses and the end result was not positive. Some students, with involved parents, transfer their child to trade schools but the process is not user friendly, raises transportation issues and generally not user friendly. Public education is failing a huge portion of students and, in turn, failing society.

  3. With everything on automobiles being computer controlled electronics now, a basic knowledge of software and electrical engineering is going to become more and more critical as part of an auto mechanics toolbelt. I grew up during the years when computer controlled items such as ignition modules, etc were making their way into automobiles. All of the other things were still old school mechanical devices. Having someone knowledgeable on those old cars nowadays is virtually impossible. If you own a vintage automobile, you better know how to maintain and repair it yourself. For modern cars, one of these mechanics with modern knowledge is necessary.

    • Hi Bruce, As someone who was a tech when we actually rebuilt and repaired engines and all other mechanical systems I’ve been considering going back to “my roots” and opening up shop for those old cars as you call them. Any thoughts on if there’s a real market or need for it? Are the folks who own them willing to pay for real expertise? I know here in the NE no one drives or appreciates old cars (drive me nuts) The few local garages all have terrible reputations but there are few other options as mechanic shops have been priced and legislated out of the market. Anyway, I wouldn’t open up here regardless.

  4. The automotive industry is one of the key staples in our economy, yet it is often misunderstood by most people. During these troubled times, technicians and service facilities are keeping all those critical care vehicles moving including all the heavy duty trucks that are delivering food, medical equipment and home necessities throughout the nation.
    What is truly lacking is a defined career path for the ‘next generation’ in the automotive industry – it could be a new tech who wants to become a master tech, shop foreman or even a shop owner. This is not a dead ended industry and the service and repair sector of the business is ripe with opportunity to not only challenge the next generation but also provide an exciting and lucrative career.
    The complex vehicles today will continue to evolve to become an essential part of our daily lives in the IOT world.
    We need to create a curriculum/certification program that clearly shows how someone can move along a career path that is in lock-step with the ever changing evolution of the automobile.

    The possibilities are limitless for those who choose the right path….we just need to define that path.


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