Reaching Young PeoplePosted 5/17/2010
By Levy Joffrion
ASA, Affiliates, Members Promote Automotive Careers
What's the Automotive Service Association doing to promote automotive service and collision repair careers?
The answer: everything it can - both on the national level and locally.
On the local level, ASA members are serving on advisory boards and participating in career fairs. And, doing what else they can to convince students that careers in the automotive industry are highly desirable.
At the national level, ASA has just updated its career fliers. Members can pay a nominal fee and then make - for 12 months - as many copies as they need (see below). The fliers can be given to students at career fairs and other school functions.
ASA will also use the fliers in responding to requests it gets at the national office. When a student inquires about a career in mechanical service and repair or collision repair, a personalized packet of information is sent to the student.
Customized packets of useful information are also available to ASA members. The packets include a copy of an article titled, "What Do You Do ... When you're asked to speak at a school career day?" Articles that provide good "talking points" and information on scholarships are also available.
Among members who have found the information useful are Charlie Longo and Kris Story. Both recently participated in their first career fairs. Both said the information they received from Cynthia Pruitt, ASA's assistant for the mechanical and collision divisions, really helped. And both enjoyed participating in the career fairs.
Longo, co-owner of United Auto Sales & Service Inc. in Waterbury, Conn., said the school was impressive, the students were well dressed and receptive and that he was "pleased" with what he saw. Although it was Longo's first career fair, he also serves on two school advisory boards. Story, vice president of operations with Story Bros. Inc. in New Britain, Conn., enjoyed passing out pamphlets and talking to
ASA national staffers also serve on school advisory boards and attend career fairs. For example, Robbie Addison, manager of the Mechanical Division; and Denise Caspersen, manager of the Collision Division; this past September participated in the Learning for Life Explorers Career Fair in Houston. They spoke to approximately 1,200 students ranging from the seventh to 12th grades.
An ongoing task of the Mechanical Division's Education and Training Subcommittee is developing ways to attract new young people to the industry.
In addition, the national association supports many organizations that promote careers in the automotive industry. For example, Bill Haas, ASA's vice president of education and training, helps distribute Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) scholarships to qualifying students. Haas reviews and judges GAAS scholarship applications. In just over 10 years, GAAS has awarded more than $1.4 million in scholarships to help start the careers of nearly 1,450 students.
ASA also supports the I-CAR Education Foundation, a not-for profit organization that promotes and enhances career opportunities in the collision repair industry.
In addition, ASA affiliates support organizations that urge youths to pursue careers in automobile repair and service. For example, ASA-Colorado members Rick Bilger, Phil White and Chris Lechman serve on advisory boards. Lechman is an adviser for the Arapahoe Community College's Auto Tech program and Bilger and White are on the Automotive Youth Educational Systems advisory board for Aims community college's automotive tech program.
Sheri Hamilton, AAM, executive director of ASA of Missouri/Kansas, says, "ASA-Missouri/Kansas participates in career fairs at local community colleges and technical schools. Some of our shop owners and technicians participate in roundtable discussions with students interested in pursuing a career in automotive service. They talk about day-to-day responsibilities and the ever-changing technology that requires successful technicians and shop owners to continue pursuing additional training each year. They also take this opportunity to promote our scholarships and job placement assistance services."
Perhaps the most good at promoting careers in the automotive industry is being done at the local level by ASA members. They are attracting bright students to automotive service and repair industry programs and training those students to be the best technicians possible. No doubt about it, community involvement is the best, most effective way to get the job done.
Shop owners are encouraged to actively serve on their local high school advisory councils and help out on Career Day by communicating the skill requirements needed and the career opportunities available.
If you are not already involved with your local high school and college, here's how you can get started:
• Contact the school and find out what automotive service and repair courses they offer. Ask if you can help. Inquire about serving on the advisory board.
• Have an open house at your shop for the students, their parents and instructors.
• Volunteer to help out in the school's Career Day. Or volunteer to talk to students in the classroom. When you talk to students, pass out copies of the new fliers that ASA has developed (see story below).
Remember: students starting careers today are the industry's future.
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