TechForce Foundation Report Shows Increase in Tech School Completions

TechForce Report Shows Increase in Tech School Completions

For the first time in 10 years, tech schools have seen an increase in student completions in automotive, collision, diesel and aviation programs.

TechForce Foundation announced it has released its 2023 Technician Supply & Demand Report which shows that, for the first time in 10 years, collective completions of postsecondary automotive, collision, diesel and aviation programs have increased.

“This is wonderful news,” said Jennifer Maher, CEO of TechForce Foundation. “TechForce Foundation and its donors have worked tirelessly to dispel the outdated stigmas; to share the upside and advantages that a technician career offers; to show respect for techs and their vital role in keeping America moving; and helping young people who love problem-solving, technology and working with their hands to find an education and career that fits. When we see an uptick in program completions, we have faith that the hard work is paying off.” 

The 2023 Technician Supply & Demand Report shows that the technician workforce grew by 4.3% from 2021 to 2022, outpacing the overall U.S. labor force’s growth (4.0%) for the first time. While this is good news, the report still finds the gap remains. The industry needs 795,000 new automotive, diesel, collision repair, aviation and avionics technicians to meet demand over the next five years (2023-2027). Even with the uptick in completions of tech school and community college programs, the gap continues to persist.

“Through this year’s data analysis, we expect nearly 800,000 new technicians to be needed over the next five years,” said Greg Settle, author of the report and director emeritus of national initiatives at TechForce Foundation. “This number is down from last year’s projection of one million new hires deemed necessary to fill the gap. While a number of factors influence overall demand, the increase in technical school graduates and the growth of the total number of technicians employed from 2021 to 2022 certainly account for a good part of the decrease. Of the 795,000 new technicians required, automotive technician demand is still the highest at 495,000. Diesel technicians follow at 152,000, collision repair at 110,000, and aviation and avionics still needs 68,000 new hires. The decrease in open positions is certainly encouraging, as well as the increase in both technicians employed and postsecondary technical program graduates. Hopefully, the past year’s trend of increased graduates continues, as we still have many more open positions than graduates ready to join the workforce. Collision repair has the biggest challenge ahead with 6.7 jobs available for every graduate, followed by 3.1 for diesel, 2.6 for automotive and 1.2 in aviation.” 

“We need to do everything we can to inspire and support those who want to pursue the technician career path,” Maher said. “Too often, students either don’t start or have to drop out of their technical education because of financial barriers. TechForce will award $2.3 million in scholarships and grants this year alone, but that’s still only serving one in every three applicants. We simply need more donations to help these students get where they’re trying to go, which is employment in an industry that desperately needs them.”

TechForce’s annual Technician Supply & Demand Report remains a resource to executives, educators, students, policymakers, researchers and reporters nationwide. Last year’s report was downloaded 1,600 times with more than 500 citations in print and broadcast news coverage, academic papers and congressional hearings. The report also provides projections for the impact of electric vehicles on workforce needs, and recently added an analysis of aviation data over previous years. 

TechForce Foundation remains committed to bridging the skills gap and empowering individuals to pursue rewarding technician careers. TechForce is changing the public perception of technician careers and inspiring a new generation of techs. Scholarships and grants ensure that every student who wants to become a technician has the opportunity to, and the online TechForce network allows the public access to everything TechForce has to offer, including scholarships, apprenticeships, jobs, student experiences and the opportunity to connect with peers and industry. 

To access the full 2023 Supply and Demand Report visit TechForce.org/Supply-Demand.

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