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Automotive Industry Trying To Close Skilled Labor Gap

Auto technicians are hard to come by in Houston and across the country



Group 1 Automotive owns more than 20 dealerships and collision centers in Greater Houston.

"We have more job openings than we're able to fill right now for technicians." Michael Balsam, a recruiter for the company, said. That's been a growing problem for the last several years, he said.

Part of it is the stigma of auto repair jobs as dirty and low-paying, but also the fact that baby boomers are retiring. And the simple fact that there are more and more cars.

Darrin Brust, president of the Universal Technical Institute's Houston campus, said together with employer groups like Group 1 Automotive, UTI drafted a letter that recently went out to schools across the country.

"We're just trying to continue to break down those stigmas," Brust said. "And encourage high school counselors and principals and other decision makers, parents even, to consider technical education."

He said students and their mentors often forget that there's a career option between high school and a four-year college degree.

And the pay? Balsam said a seasoned, well-trained technician can make more than $100,000 a year.


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