The Equipment Industry Technical Workforce: Addressing The Technician Shortage
A College of William & Mary Research Study Commissioned by The AED Foundation
The changing landscape of the equipment industry means that the need for equipment industry technicians continues to increase. These workforce skills are in high demand, and the number of technicians getting the experience and education they need to join the industry is currently not keeping up.
As the industry navigates the current labor shortage, Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) is dedicated to providing our members with up-to-date information and other crucial resources. Through our research, we’ve gathered insightful data that examines the changes in the equipment technician workforce in recent years.
The Equipment Industry Technician Shortage
For two decades, the equipment industry has grappled with a lack of skilled technicians in the equipment industry. The skills gap has caused many in the industry financial loss as companies work to keep up with the demand for services.
We commissioned research to further delve into the changes that this lack of skilled workers brings to the economy and the industry.
The AED Foundation commissioned a College of William and Mary research study, “Equipment Industry Technical Workforce: Addressing the Technician Shortage,” to examine today’s industry technician workforce situation.
This research study focuses on Career and Technical Education (CTE), one of the main proxies by which skilled technicians receive training to prepare them for the skilled-labor workforce. In the examination of CTE, this report seeks to identify the reasons for the collapse of high school CTE and the resulting effect on the economy.
The report also identifies best practices at the secondary (and to a lesser extent, the postsecondary) education level in delivering successful CTE programs. Next, the report provides a detailed overview of CTE funding levels from federal and state sources.
Finally, the report identifies key access points at the secondary and postsecondary education levels via individual state “playbooks”; AED members can use these playbooks as guides in contributing to closing the skills gap.
The Value of Professional Development and Learning Opportunities
Providing beginning and continuing education and opportunities for professional development is crucial for building the equipment industry’s technical workforce. To close the skills gap, we need to address the obstacles to professional development that may be keeping workers from building upon their skills in the field.
Ongoing learning offers a variety of benefits to employees as well as the companies they work for. A few of the returns continuing education and professional development opportunities offer include:
- Improved productivity: Ongoing professional education boosts employee effiency.
- Increased earnings: Having employees with more education leads to significantly higher earnings for the company.
- Increased employee retention: Better-trained employees are also employees who will stay with their company for the long term.
The Impact of Education on the Technician Shortage
As an increasingly high number of Americans get college degrees, fewer people are opting for blue-collar career paths. The rate of students receiving Career and Technical Education (CTE) has dropped significantly, leading to the technician shortage the industry faces today. This phenomenon is widespread, affecting the equipment industry and many other industries that rely on trade workers.
The skill gap continues to increase, which means that more workers need to have access to paths toward professional development. It’s essential to the industry that potential employees can receive the education to build trade skills.
How AED Can Help Your Industry Close the Skills Gap
AED is dedicated to providing educational value for your employees and the industry as a whole. We offer a variety of opportunities for professional development for our members, such as:
- Live and on-demand webinars
- Certified manager programs
- Self-study courses
Perhaps our most powerful program for addressing the current labor shortage is the AED Foundation Certified Technician Program. This program gives your dealership employees the skills to raise the industry’s standard of technical expertise and make your dealership stand out for your excellence in the field.
To help develop skilled workers, our program focuses on three main objectives:
- Benchmark: Compare technicians’ results to others in the industry.
- Improve: Focus on technicians’ continuous improvement.
- Reward and retention: Demonstrate that your organization values your technicians’ contributions to your dealership’s success.
We are dedicated to working with you to resolve the technician shortage and build up the equipment industry. Partner with us and learn more about becoming an AED member today.