See past CSC Edge issues here!
First of all thanks for the comments that I received on last months article about the future of the Electronics Service Industry that really dealt with the availability of our technicians for the future and what we can do to help find the talent that we need to provide critical resources to the economy of our country. I would like to make a couple additional points about the actual situation that exists to develop this key service resource for the future of our industries and also share some facts and ideas about what we can all do to help promote a challenging career opportunity for young men and women.
First of all 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. In fact in many cases there are critical shortages today in qualified people to perform maintenance, repair, and installation work right now. For example, I can see my Doctor in a day or two if I have a problem, but my call to the plumber, carpenter, or someone to fix my air conditioner, appliance, or wireless product could very well take longer. Another unfortunate but frequent comment made by far to many customers 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 a window air conditioner went out so I called a highly regarded service company that sold me a maintenance agreement on the product and 10 days after my service request they came out to fix the item and 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 a well know 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 the big emphasis today in the educational institutions is to get a four year degree after high school and very little, if any, emphasis is given to pursuing the trades that includes the technical services that are provided by our Certified Service Centers. The next obvious 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 almost every State that are noted on their web site www.skillusa.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 a lot of it ourselves at the local level plus try to influence our 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. Just ask yourself the question as to what young people even know about a career in a tech service industry and 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.
Author: Don Pierson, President