TechForce Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to championing the technician workforce, has seen a significant uptick in public support for high-tech, hands-on mobility technician careers. Forward-thinking businesses are seizing on this opportunity and partnering with TechForce to supercharge the pipeline of future technicians.
“For 15 years, championing technician careers was an uphill battle,” said Jennifer Maher, executive director of TechForce Foundation. “The public shied away from hands-on careers in favor of the college-for-all mentality, and the industry complained but did little to fix it. There is still much work to be done, but we’re seeing a shift. Everyone from parents to teachers and students themselves have opened their eyes to the life and career opportunities available to technicians, and TechForce has been a large part of that shift.”
This year, TechForce Foundation will award over $2.3 million in scholarships and grants to support this growing interest, with nearly $1 million already awarded to students in the first half of 2023. A huge lift came this year when Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford dealers across the regions of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix donated $1.1 million to support students pursuing their technical education in auto and diesel.
“A grant of that magnitude is a real boost and vote of confidence in the work we’re doing,” Maher said.
Added TechForce Foundation Board of Directors Chair Angie Babin, “The phones are ringing as more companies and foundations embrace our charitable mission.”
Companies have joined or increased their direct support for TechForce by hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2023, including enhanced partnerships with AutoZone; BASF; Bridgestone Americas; CarMax; Ford Motor Company; General Motors; LKQl NAPA; and Snap-on Industrial. Additionally, the nonprofit trade association CAWA, representing the automotive parts industry, named TechForce as one of its charities of choice, pledging to engage its members across California, Nevada and Arizona as donors and volunteers.
“Each one of these companies has either significantly increased its commitment to TechForce Foundation this year or entered into a new partnership to support our mission,” Babin said. “The momentum and growth shows us that the pendulum is swinging. Society is realizing we need a skilled workforce, and that employers and brands that rely on techs need to take action and invest in solutions like TechForce. We’re thrilled to see this uptick in energy.”
TechForce Foundation has invested heavily in building a first-of-its-kind online community, TechForce, where tech students, working techs, instructors, brands and employers can connect. TechForce ensures aspiring technicians can find all the free resources to successfully navigate their technical education and job placement pathway. It’s free to join at techforce.org, where students can find tech schools, scholarships, apprenticeships and jobs and also tap free tickets to events, watch online training, participate in trivia and contests, and more. More than 27,000 users have joined TechForce since launch, accessing all that it has to offer for free, thanks to support from its individual, business and foundation donors.
TechForce continues to innovate, launching its Grab the Wheel campaign this past August to inspire the next generation of technicians. The ambitious campaign seeks to welcome one million new entry-level technicians over the next five years to meet a pressing workforce demand. The organization is also partnering with the industry to recognize the technicians and students who are shaping its future, with the largest Techs Rock Awards to date.
TechForce is supported by charitable contributions from the automotive, collision and diesel sectors, including OEMs, aftermarket, retailers, private shops, national MSOs and the rental sector, as well as other sectors, including aviation, CNC machining, marine, motorcycle, motorsports and welding. Small businesses under $10 million in annual revenue can partner with TechForce Foundation for just $89 a month, including the right to post jobs and apprenticeships in TechForce. Small brands can opt-in to a professional membership at just $499 a year. Named scholarship funds can be opened for as little as $10,000, and the organization has a team dedicated to crafting win/win strategic alliances with larger companies.