Samantha Flores was working as a night security officer, but she saw no future in that role. Then, she saw an online ad for a Manheim program that seeks to help its operating locations nationwide identify, recruit and hire entry-level auto technicians for their reconditioning centers.
“When I saw an ad for the Manheim Apprentice Program, I knew it would be a great opportunity," said Flores, who is currently an apprentice at Manheim San Antonio and daughter of an experienced mechanic. “I love the diversity of learning experiences I’m getting — it’s helping me with time management and growing into a solid mechanic with a bright future.”
Many news reports have covered the auto industry’s challenges in finding qualified workers in retail and wholesale. Because of what Manheim describes as a severe nationwide shortage of auto technicians and a growing client need for its reconditioning services, the company said it is taking a “grow our own” approach in launching the Manheim Apprentice Program. Manheim said it anticipates much greater demand in 2019 and beyond across its reconditioning network.
The company says its new program comes at a time when many people with outdated ideas about earning potential and career path believe that pursuing an auto technician career is undesirable. But Manheim says that new technologies mean today’s technology-driven technicians “work with their minds as much as their hands.”
The company designed the 12-week program so apprentices can advance to a part-time or full-time entry level position by gaining necessary skills and knowledge.
Manheim team members serve as mentors to the enrolled apprentices, guiding them in their development and training. Manheim provides tools to help apprentices complete up to 480 hours of training.
In addition to Manheim’s apprentice program launch, the company’s relationship with TechForce Foundation continues. That organization works to educate parents and middle school and high school students about the “new era of the auto technician.”
“We have some of the best auto technicians in the country, but an industry-wide shortage of entry-level professionals has made recruiting and training an urgent priority,” said Manheim president Grace Huang. “As a leader in the industry, we’re taking every opportunity to promote this valuable, and needed, career path.”
Across the country, 19 Manheim locations are currently participating in the auto technician apprentice program. Manheim expects to expand the program later this year to include body shop and paint technicians.
“With the need for auto technicians rapidly outpacing the number of qualified candidates, it’s critical that we invest in growing our own talent to meet the evolving needs of our clients,” Huang said. “The Manheim Apprentice Program is a way for us to develop the next generation of skilled technicians to meet not only the growing needs of today’s dealerships, but also tomorrow’s mobility providers.”