Weeklong Event Puts a Spotlight on the People Who Keep Our Trucks Moving
September 19th marks the start of the second annual National Technician Appreciation Week. Hosted by the American Trucking Associations and its Technology & Maintenance Council, the event celebrates the people who maintain and repair our nation’s trucks, and recognizes their indispensable role in the transportation industry.
Importantly, the week also raises awareness of what its organizers describe as “one of the most in-demand careers in the trucking industry.” Indeed, the shortage of trained technicians rivals the much more publicized shortage of truck drivers. In a 2020 report, the TechForce Foundation noted that about 642,000 new car, diesel, and collision technicians will be needed between 2020 and 2024. The organization is working to address this need by promoting the financial and professional benefits of technician careers, publicizing the different paths available to those who wish to enter the field, establishing partnerships with technical schools and employers, and providing financial assistance to technicians-in-training.
TechForce is just one of several organizations that are striving to create the diverse and skilled workforce needed to keep trucks safely running and ready for service. Another example is the Utah Diesel Tech Pathways (UDTP), which was formed several years ago by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Salt Lake Community College and several Utah school districts. Like TechForce, UDTP emphasizes that entry to the field does not necessarily require a traditional four-year college degree. Instead, UDTP provides a route for high school students to move quickly into career paths, beginning with diesel-tech classes within their school districts, and ending with a certificate or associates degree from a community college or tech school. Established relationships with multiple industry partners ensure that students have a way to gain hands-on experience and mentorships, both of which increase their chances of success.
The TechForce Foundation and programs like UDTP argue that a career as a professional technician is well-paying, provides job security, and offers advancement opportunities. By acknowledging the importance of technicians to the safe transport of critical resources, the National Technician Appreciation Week adds a healthy dose of respect to the list of potential benefits.