PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh International Auto Show runs through Monday and on display are many of the cars we’ll see on the road in the near future.
But the show is also helping to recruit the next generation of technicians who will fix and maintain those vehicles.
On Friday morning, hundreds of students from across the Pittsburgh area got a sneak peek at the show and a chance to talk to industry experts about potential job opportunities as part of the show’s annual career day.
Auto industry experts say events like this are incredibly important in this ever-changing field.
“We’ve seen more new technology come across vehicles in the last five years than we’ve seen in the last 20,” said Larry Hourcle, an instructor with the National Automobile Dealers Association.
From electric vehicles to autonomous ones, and other cutting-edge developments, dealerships need to keep their technicians ahead of the curve when it comes to fixing and maintaining the cars they sell.
“If you’re not learning something new every day, you’re falling behind because everything is changing so rapidly,” said Hourcle.
Recruiting fresh faces like Camden Fellers, who attended the career day, is one way dealerships are staying up to date.
“I’ve always liked cars and I like fixing them and seeing what’s going on inside of them,” said Fellers, a senior at Latrobe High School and Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technical Center.
Andrew Wilson, Mazda’s district service manager said no one is better prepared to become the next generation of technicians than today’s students.
“The technicians not only have to know how to change brake pads and oil, but they also almost have to be like an electrical engineer at times,”
He said. “There’s a lot more skill involved and these young people are proving to be a lot more adaptable.”
Paul Bucek, the Ford Pittsburgh regional manager for sales and service, agreed.
“You think about where we are today with our younger generation, they are so savvy on whether it’s their phone or technology, laptops, computers, it doesn’t matter, everything in school is all electronic and digital. That’s what our cars are today,” said Bucek.
Bringing in the next generation of technicians will also help the industry overcome a nationwide labor shortage and an aging population of employees.
“We’re starting to see a lot of people retire out of the industry and we need more technicians to come in and fill those roles,” said Bucek. “We have about a 30-40,000 annual shortage of technicians.”
The auto show runs through Monday.
For ticket information, click here: https://www.pittautoshow.com
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