The technician training opportunities that The AED Foundation works to develop is one of the most valuable resources it offers, according to Volvo Construction Equipment.
The Sweden-based manufacturer of articulated haulers, wheel loaders, excavation equipment, road development machines and compact construction equipment has a global footprint and is a one-stop shopping experience of sorts, as it provides servicing, financing, used and new equipment, rental options and more.
“Our single biggest challenge is the qualified technician labor shortage, which means (it’s a serious challenge to) the industry overall,” Kenneth Silverman explains. He is the vice president of customer support for the Region Americas division, based in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania (though Volvo Construction Equipment has a presence in all 50 states).
He cites a wish common among dealers. Ask just about anyone in the industry and they’ll freely admit, if they could find a dozen qualified technicians they’d hire them on the spot. The need is that great.
“It’s not one of the most glamorous industries. It’s hands-on; you work in the elements. It’s even more reason to invest resources to develop educational programs. It’s the single biggest area of value in The AED Foundation.”
The Foundation most heavily focuses on tackling the technician shortage. It works to accredit postsecondary construction equipment technology programs and offers job training and continuing education options. It also funds research to provide evidence about the value of education and workforce development programs as well as to share that information with educators, the media, and other stakeholders.
The Foundation’s strategy is to establish standards, connect educators and dealers, implement recruitment options, educate qualified students, and, in turn, help the industry overall via increased productivity.
There’s a true need, too, as the technician shortage is currently costing the equipment distribution industry more than $2.4 billion in potential revenue. As a result, The AED Foundation is actively working to develop college programs and self-study, webinar and seminar options so technicians, managers and others in the industry can further their learning.
By the end of 2017 The AED Foundation had 46 accredited colleges at 36 schools nationwide, and by the end of 2020 The Foundation will have more than 60 AED-accredited and recognized programs at more than 50 colleges and high schools.
“My job is to be sure to engage with other dealerships to use those resources,” Silverman says.
Since knowledge is power and can only help the industry, “I encourage all of our dealers to become active supporters of The AED Foundation by contributing to their annual campaign and utilizing their educational resources available.”
Volvo Construction is a strong supporter of The AED Foundation. In addition to to participating on the board of directors, Volvo, contributes to the annual campaign, serves on the 2018 Gala host committee, donates to the live auction, and purchases gala tickets.
Personally, Silverman has been involved with The AED Foundation for about the last five years, but Volvo’s membership long predates his time with the company.
“We support The AED Foundation because of the education it offers to dealers,” Silverman explains. “Dealers are required to have a certain amount of training each year; we are tied to The AED Foundation training. We try to encourage dealers to use those resources.
The AED Foundation educational resources are comprehensive and current; it’s an advantage for dealers.”