TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Get ready for the possibility of paying more next time you take your car to a mechanic.
GMET’S Brennon Gurley finds out how a shortage of technicians could drive up the cost of repairs.
Kevin Robertson, Owner, Robertson Automotive, tells KLTV, “It’s a battle we’ve been fighting for years but it seems to be getting worse. It is harder to find people who want to be in this industry."
Robertson has been in the industry for over two decades. He says advances in technology are causing staffing shortage.
"Everything is electronically controlled now. Used to you hit a window switch and it sent power around to a window motor. Now that window switch sends a command to the body computer that sends to the door computer,” explains Robertson.
Today’s mechanic needs a broader skill set than ever before.
“You’re not just a grease monkey. You do not just come to work get dirty every day, wash your hands and go home. It has become very knowledge-based industry,” adds Robertson.
If the nationwide shortage isn’t addressed, Robertson says it could make the industry more expensive for the consumer. "The value of that technician is going to be higher so that is going to change the cost of doing repairs,” explains Robertson.
At Tyler Junior College, Todd Perry, Automotive Coordinator, is helping prepare the next generation of auto technicians.
"Our program is designed to help fill in those empty spots due to the demand,” says Perry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, an additional 45,000 techs are needed by 2026 to meet the growing demand.
"The jobs are there, and we do what we can to provide an entry level tech that’s trainable where we can hopefully make somebody a good employee,” explains Perry.
Click Here if you’re interested in the automotive program at Tyler Junior College.