Labor Day originated as a celebration of American workers, but for many Americans it has become a time for barbeques and sales to celebrate the end of summer. What has happened to the support for labor in America when longtime stalwart industries such as the automotive industry are experiencing a skills gap and workforce shortages?
This Labor Day, parents sending their students back to school can use the opportunity to consider how the workforce in the United States is changing, and the variety of options their teenagers have as they look ahead to careers.
In particular, changes in vehicle technology and the expansion of automation mean the advancement and evolution of the technician profession in the transportation industry.
Jobs that might have typically been considered “blue collar” jobs (aka: mechanic), or jobs with less potential for responsibility and income, are now considered “new collar” jobs (aka: technician), where smart and talented individuals can find personal fulfillment and economic stability and success.
For many young adults, a traditional four-year college education may not be the best fit or right path for individual success. Yet many families are unaware of the wide range of options, including technical education, or careers that don’t require a four-year degree.
The TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission of championing students through their education into successful careers as professional technicians, has developed the “Because I am a Tech,” promotion to educate teens and parents about the possibilities available in today’s economy.
The campaign features real stories from technicians who found their niche and are enjoying real success in various aspects of the transportation industry.
“We are dispelling the myths around technical careers in the transportation industry and our campaign shows, firsthand, how real people are building rich and fulfilling lives,” says Jennifer Maher, CEO of TechForce Foundation.
In a video on its website, Leah Pritchett, a professional drag racer, recounts her observation of the “mechanical ballet” of the skilled technicians working on race cars under pressure, and how much satisfaction and success the racing team finds in their work.
TechForce Foundation offers students and parents a roadmap to a successful career via its website, futuretechsuccess.org/map.
The Test Drive a Career section of the site includes videos from students, parents, working technicians, and employers about the opportunities of technician careers.
The site includes a FutureTech Resource Hub, connecting teens and parents to technical schools, certifications, internships, afterschool clubs and STEM programs starting in middle- and high school.
In addition, a scholarships section guides students and families to opportunities to apply for financial assistance to pursue a technician career.
Visit futuretechsuccess.org for more information about the potential and pathways to rewarding careers.