When I started in this business 45 years ago (counting inventory at the auto parts store), I did it because I loved cars. Yes, I do have 10W-40 in my veins, a gear-driven pump for a heart and brake shoes for feet. I’ve never left the industry because I’m passionate about it. My mind just seems to gravitate towards machines, and the automobile really makes it spin.
I wasn’t alone either. Who can remember when auto dealers would put up the brown wrapping paper on the showroom windows to hide the upcoming new models? It would happen about every fall, and there sure was a lot of excitement.
I met a man several years ago in Iowa whose father ordered one of the 300 1953 Corvettes. He was a medical student at the time, and by some luck he got the one the dealer was getting. The car was brought in by rail in the middle of the night so it wouldn’t be seen. Even in the middle of the night, there were still over 20 people on hand when the car arrived. Now that’s passion!
It was part of our time then. People wanted cars and were excited to work on them. Fast forward 50-plus years and things have changed. Vehicles are important but not the center of our lives or our younger generations’ lives. Also, the fever to work on them or be part of our industry isn’t there either.
This needs to change. Ours is a great industry that’s not going anywhere soon. There are 240 million plus vehicles on the road, and they need to be maintained. The industry steadily grows every year whether the economy is up or down. Slow, steady growth makes for a great career.
Never has the time for a young person to join our industry been greater than right now. We’re growing and, due to the imbalance in our aging senior leadership, there’s going to be lots of options. They can study whatever business or technical discipline they want, but bring it here to utilize it on a daily basis.
Five years ago, we started aftermarketJobs.com and Auto Care Career Hub to assist individuals interested in our industry. It made sense since there was no one else doing it specifically in our space. When the Auto Care Association decided to apply resources to recruiting young people to our industry last year, we knew it would make sense to work together.
The new site, www.autocarecareers.org, is up and provides excellent guidance for those who want to learn about our industry and all the opportunities within it. Babcox Media has merged our existing job sites with the Auto Care Association’s site so there is one common place to go for the industry. Other organizations and associations have also joined forces with this site to add even further depth to its reach. It’s an exciting effort, and all of us in the industry need to support and promote it.
As I said in the title, it all makes sense; now we just have to use it. Take a trip around the site!