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U.S. Automotive Repair Education Missing On All Cylinders


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Co-publishers Note: For more than 15 years The Auto Channel has been working closely with Professor Harold Wolchuk his Auto Lab radio show and The Consortium For Automotive Education (CAED) an ongoing forum for discussion of industry and educator needs .

Every Saturday morning since July 3, 1999, The Auto Channel has been streaming (and archiving) the two hour AUTO LAB broadcast LIVE from NY, as well as hosting and maintaining the Consortium For Automotive Education Teaching Institutions Guide, a database of public community colleges across America that offer local student courses in automotive education.

The jist of the article below is that there are just too few qualified applicants to meet the demand. This is not a new problem, but one that Professor Wolchuk brought to our attention in 1999. We got it then and get it now and along with the Consortium For Automotive Education have developed a solution. We have developed the plan to launch Auto Lab USA, comprised of hundreds of locally produced versions of the 25 year old Auto Lab NY radio show. Each local Auto Lab show will be produced and broadcast in conjunction with the local community college that offers students an automotive education. Each weekly LIVE radio show would bring automotive interest and education to both the local motorists and young citizens considering a career in the automotive field.

Sadly our sponsorship proposal for Auto Lab USA which was presented to GM, Chrysler and NAPA, was killed by their Ad Agencies. Auto Lab USA is still a good idea that is needed more than everÖoh well, if only there is an executive at Chrysler or GM who has the intelligence to understand Auto Labís impact, and the balls to tell their ad agency that Auto Lab is a long term solution that they want and need to get behind. For a copy of the Auto Lab USA sponsorship proposal e me at bgordon@theautochannel.com.

Washington DC, May 19, 2014; The AIADA newsletter reported that that dealership service managers are complaining about a rusty old clunker that's gumming up their operations: America's vocational education system.

According to Automotive News, traditional schools are steering more students toward college with curricula heavy on science, math, and technology. Meanwhile, service managers say, neglected vocational and industrial arts programs are turning out a generation of auto mechanics whose skills aren't keeping pace with the cars they're assigned to fix. "The testing offered in many states to become a certified auto mechanic does not coincide with what is being done in today's auto shop," says Rick Castanos, parts and service director at Varsity Lincoln in Wixom, Mich., and Varsity Ford in Ann Arbor, Mich. "It's dated testing . . . The level of questions they have is based on vehicles that date back to the 1970s and '80s." The result is a skills gap that is making it difficult for dealerships to find and retain qualified mechanics, and for new graduates to find work.

John Creager, service and parts director at Hall Motor Co. in Lakeview, Ore., estimates the average mechanic enters the industry with less than 20 percent of the required knowledge.

For more on the Automotive News article on the skills gap in dealership auto mechanics,click here.