A new partnership between Collin College and Toyota is putting a spotlight on existing labor shortages in the United States and what some collaborative programs between higher education and private industry can do to meet business needs.
Starting this fall, Collin College students attendings its technical campus in Allen will be able to enroll in the Toyota & Lexus Technician Training & Education Network (T-TEN), an educational program that provides hands-on training in automotive diagnostics and repair.
“It’s considered the Harvard of these [programs]. It’s a great opportunity for students, because in the T-TEN world, all the students that are going to school are also working in a dealership,” said Collin College Technical Campus Provost Brenden Mesch, speaking with Community Impact.
The program could not come at a more opportune time, as the country has been grappling with labor shortages in the skilled trades, prompting some private companies to sponsor training and certification courses at high schools and colleges, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
Joe Myers, a technician development manager for Toyota, shared with The Dallas Express some of the challenges the automotive service and repair industry has been dealing with and why programs like T-TEN are giving it a lifeline.
“There has been a so-called ‘skills gap’ in the United States for decades that has made attracting new talent a perennial challenge for many industries. The automotive service industry is no exception, and we have grappled with even greater issues, such stereotypes and lack of awareness by young people for career opportunities in the automotive sector,” he stated.
The National Automobile Dealers Association told Wards Auto last month that the industry needs roughly 76,000 mechanics and auto repair technicians to enter the labor market every year to make up for attrition.
Myers informed The Dallas Express that, projecting out towards 2026, the industry is facing a shortage of about 370,000 auto service technicians.
“This is despite the fact that the average compensation … at a new-car dealership is over $61,000 per year. Master level technicians can make over $100,000 per year … [That’s why] Toyota Motor North America has made it a priority to seek out, recruit, train and place career-oriented people on behalf of, and in cooperation with, our franchise new car dealers.,” he stated.
Myers went on to explain how T-TEN was first developed in 1986 and has since partnered with multiple technical colleges in the hopes of finding workers looking to enter a fairly lucrative trade — servicing and repairing vehicles at dealerships.
He added that Toyota is also collaborating with Tarrant County Community College in Fort Worth.
According to a Collin College press release about the partnership, the T-TEN program “connects students with paid internships with dealerships while attending school, connecting them with employers early in the education process. In addition to multiple certificate and associate degree options, the program will also offer National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Toyota and Lexus technician training certifications.”