The auto tech industry pipeline of professionals dwindling

automotive school

David Smith hoped for a long career in the oil and gas industry, but when he got laid off last year, he searched for a different job that would be in high demand.


The most promising opportunity he found was beneath the hood of a car.


“There's a vast new business going on in automotive,” said Smith, 43, of Claysville. “Not only dealing with hybrids, but also electric. There is an abundance of performance shops.”


Smith started Rosedale Technical College's auto­motive technician program last year, bucking a trend in which fewer people are entering the trade. The program has had a significant drop in enrollment the past few years, underscoring the challenges for auto garages and dealers who face a shortage of trained workers.


The number of jobs for auto technicians and mechanics is expected to increase 5 percent over the next decade, according to the Labor Department, but experts say the pipeline of trained professionals is dwindling.


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