A Word from Don Pierson: Future Techs?

[Note from the Editor: This article appeared originally in a Technology Resource Network newsletter. EWA thanks TRN and Don Pierson for permission to reprint.]

Thanks for the comments that I received on my last article about the future of the Electronics Service Industry.  It dealt with the availability of technicians for the future and what we can do to help find the talent that we need to provide critical resources to the economy.   I would like to make a couple additional points about the situation that exists to develop this key resource for the future, and also share some facts about what we can all do to help promote a challenging career opportunity for young men and women.

Teresa Maher with ETA shared some facts with me that she learned at the SKILLS USA Meeting about the need for trades people in this Country right now. There are critical shortages in qualified people to perform maintenance, repair, and installation work right now. For example, I can see my Doctor in a day or two, but my call to the plumber, carpenter, or wireless product could very well take longer. Another unfortunate but frequent comment made by far too many is that the person sent out to do the work couldn't fix the item after looking at the problem. Many claim to be professionals but are far from it when you look at their actual training and experience. Recently I had a personal experience where an air conditioner went out so I called a highly regarded service company with whom I had a maintenance agreement, and 10 days after my request, they came out to fix it.  He informed us that they would have to get us a new unit and that would take another 10 days to deliver. Many claim to just replace broken units under warranty but someone still has to review the problem and make an informed decision as to whether to fix or replace. That is still a technician of some level making that call and also hopefully a qualified person reinstalling the defective product. The 10 days it took to get the service call completed was undoubtedly due to more work than the existing techs could handle in a reasonable time frame and also perhaps the skill sets needed to actually repair many of the units that they try to fix in the field. 
Mike Rowe, actor and proponent of skilled trade development also well known for his role on The Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" was recently on a Cable News Program as a spokesperson for an Organization called Skills USA and stated that there are 6 million jobs available right now in the trades and that emphasis today in the educational institutions is to get a four-year degree.  Very little emphasis is given to pursuing the trades that include the technical services that are provided by our Certified Service Centers. The next question is if there is currently any interest in these vocations by young people today? Apparently, there is based on Mr. Rowe's comment that in SKILLS USA, an organization that promotes interests and education in the trades nationwide.  There are currently 400,000 young people involved in that organization who currently have an interest in pursuing a career where they fix and build things and those are just the kind of folks that we are trying to find. In fact, this is an organization you should take a close look at because they have chair people for every State that are named on their web site www.skillsusa.org.  Contact them and see if you can get involved locally and perhaps even find someone in your own area who might fit into your business as a future technician.
If we want to get some action fast we will have to do it ourselves at the local level plus influence government officials and local school and business associations to help them realize that we have a lot of jobs available right now if we just redirect the emphasis of our educational and vocational counselors. Just think if we could fill 6 million jobs with people interested in the trades, what a problem solver that would be. Please make sure your local politicians know that fact. Ask yourself the question as to what young people even know about a career in a technical service industry?  The answer is nothing because no one has ever taken the time to explain a career like that to them. That teacher could be you. Offer to speak at the high schools and tech schools and tell them the story about this career and what is has to offer and then offer to mentor students who have the aptitude and ability to become one of your future technicians. Also, once you have found the right person get them trained through the proper Certification and Industry Associations like PSA, ETA and TRN who have done a great job helping to get the training that your folks will need once you bring them on board. 
Don Pierson
Certified Service Center

Category: EWA On Your Side