TechForce Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on championing students through their technical education, has launched its “Because I’m a Tech” campaign (hashtag #becauseimatech) to coincide with Labor Day. The campaign is designed to educate teens and parents that there’s more than one road to success – that a technical education and career is a viable pathway to a rewarding future. Also, that there are attractive opportunities available to be a professional technician in America’s robust transportation industry.
Labor Day has long been celebrated as a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. However, TechForce says that, over the years, its true meaning has taken a backseat to rituals of shopping, backyard barbecues, and for many, simply celebrating the end of summer and preparing for a new school year.
TechForce says it sees these “distracted” trends as an opportunity to re-engage and reactivate a growing segment of Americans who have become weary and afraid of the changing workforce landscape as technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence become more prevalent. Simultaneously, people are seeing the skyrocketing costs of four-year universities and financial aid turning higher education into a less viable option for long-term financial success and stability.
Perhaps most concerned about these trends is the segment of 35- to 50-year-old women and men – mothers and fathers who are faced with the challenges of shaping and supporting the career aspirations of their teenage sons and daughters who are on the verge of making decisions that will heavily impact their own social and economic futures.
The “Because I’m a Tech” campaign is designed to:
- Connect students who are hands-on learners and problem-solvers, love fixing and making things work, and have an affinity for computers, diagnostics and technology to an education and career that fits them
- Teach parents and their teens about the social and economic achievements that can await them by pursuing a technical education and career as a professional, trained technician
- Ease fears and help parents and influencers understand how and why these careers are no longer considered “blue collar,” but rather “new collar”
- Show that technicians are not being replaced by automation and technology, but rather advanced by it
- Let them see firsthand how real people are building rich and fulfilling lives because they’re techs
Videos at futuretechsuccess.org demonstrate exactly where and how to start one’s own journey down this promising path by providing an actual “roadmap” to success. Access these downloadable maps at futuretechsuccess.org/map.
“Today’s techs are well-paid, highly skilled, hands-on problem solvers who are not burdened by massive school debt like their four-year school counterparts,” said Jennifer Maher, CEO and executive director of TechForce. “As we change the outdated image of this profession, we can get more students interested in becoming technicians.”
The obsolete view of yesterday’s transportation careers typecast them as low-tech “blue collar” jobs. The reality is the mechanic has been replaced by a highly trained technician, and the profession has evolved to high-tech, “new-collar” careers where smart and talented individuals can find economic stability and personal fulfillment.
TechForce Foundation believes that well-intended educators and their incentives have done a disservice to the future workforce by positioning a four-year degree as the only road to a successful career. For some, technical schools are a better path and better aligned with their tactile (hands-on) knack for problem-solving. Financial feasibility also is a significant factor in the current environment of skyrocketing college loan debt. Tech school graduates have considerably less educational debt and pay it off faster than their four-year counterparts, says TechForce.
High Tech and High Demand
The days of the “grease monkey” are long gone, states TechForce Foundation. Today’s vehicles have millions more lines of code than the spaceship that put man on the moon. Transportation techs are computer savvy and in demand. One out of every seven jobs in the U.S. is transportation-related, and there is a massive shortage of qualified technicians, which means hiring demand is sky-high. Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the annual demand for new tech graduates is more than double the number that are graduating – essentially more than two new job openings to every one tech graduate.