The Importance of Developing Technicians for Tomorrow

After joining AED in late 2017, I spent majority of 2018 visiting AED members of all sizes throughout the Southeast. From the three-million-dollar company to the three-billion-dollar company, there has been a recurring conversation about the demand for qualified technicians. Stemming from these conversations and a 2015 report commissioned by The AED Foundation, we here at AED started putting more resources behind workforce development, with a focus on technicians. In the eyes of AED, workforce development is the ability to generate career awareness for the industry by connecting members with local accredited technical colleges, so you, the dealer, can participate in career days, job fairs and other opportunities.
Growing tomorrow’s workforce takes much more than sitting on the advisory board of your local technical school or partnering with The AED Foundation to accredit the diesel-equipment programs at these technical schools. I challenge you to join the momentum that The AED Foundation has created and become more involved with your local technical college, as well as your high schools. Take 30 minutes from your day to let students from these schools see what a 21st century shop looks like, in an effort to eliminate some of the old stereotypes.

Take the time when business is booming to make your investment in the future success of your company. Be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to solving the current and future workforce shortages. 

Just a few weeks ago I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend Lincoln Technical College biannual career days, where over 200 students filtered through the facilities of the newly accredited Lincoln Technical College. I was aware that some of the local dealers would be in attendance, but I never would have imagined seeing dealers from Florida, Georgia and Maryland who traveled to participate in this two-day event. I was struck by the fact that AED members would travel from so far away to a school that was out of their territory. 

Linder Industrial Machinery was one of those dealers that made the investment. When asked why they chose to take a four-hour roundtrip flight from Tampa, Florida, to Nashville, Polly Van Valkenburg, director of human resources, said, “With schools like Lincoln Tech that attract students from multiple states, it makes the decision to come easier. While our territory covers Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, during visits to Lincoln Tech we have been fortunate to meet and hire students who are originally from one of those three states. Linder has also hired students who have extended family in one of our 18 locations. Lastly, we have hired students who are in a situation that permits them to relocate. The return of assets justifies the travel and time for our participation.”

If other companies are willing to travel over 700 miles to participate in career events, your company should be in attendance, or working with AED and The AED Foundation to create one, at a local AED Foundation-Accredited college. Being involved and in tune with the work of The AED Foundation is simple; all you need to do is stay in communication with your regional manager. This engagement will provide you the opportunity to meet with hundreds of potential technicians, for both today and the future. 


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