Mack works to close technician gap

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Mack Trucks is launching a new program to increase the number of skilled truck technicians entering the job market.

“Dealers today are facing a double challenge – they’re confronted with this severe shortage of qualified help, yet they don’t have the time or resources to systematically address it,” said Al Hertzog, director of Mack’s North American Institute.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates an annual shortage of 35,000 truck technicians through 2010.

Mack’s Technician Recruitment Program is designed to help bridge this gap. The program’s centerpiece is the Technician Recruitment Kit, which features materials and advice to get young people to consider careers as truck technicians. The kit includes a recruitment guide, brochures, video and PowerPoint presentations.

The kit’s audience is high-school students.

“Many of them believe that a four-year college degree is their only option,” Hertzog said. “They have this image of the dirty mechanic.”

Young people need to understand that the nature of the job is changing, thanks to advanced electronics, computerized diagnostics and other new technologies, Hertzog said.

The North American Institute is adding an Entry Level Technician training course to help dealers develop and retain newly recruited employees.

“It’s not enough just to bring them in the door,” Herzog said.

Dealers say they need technicians with basic computer and technical skills who can remove and replace water pumps, alternators and wheel seals, do basic brake overhauls and then program a truck’s electronic control module, Herzog said. “It’s these basic skills that are the focus of our new course.”

The institute offers dealers a similar program for new parts associates.