I have spent a lot of time in the past few months on the road talking with dealers in the Southeast Region. During these visits there has been a common theme: How do I get more technicians, will there be a transportation bill, and what is the status of the tariffs? AED recognizes the importance of each of these topics. But we must remember that there is strength in numbers. I realize the importance of the summer months for many of our members’ bottom lines, but there is too much at stake for you to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily operations.
AED and The AED Foundation are actively addressing each of these issues that are currently affecting the profitability of your company. The AED Foundation is in the process of accrediting over 20 diesel technology programs throughout the United States. I would encourage you to reach out to your regional manager to see if one of these schools is in your area. Accrediting programs cannot happen without the support of industry leaders like you. Workforce development is one issue that every single dealer can get behind to help solve this crisis. If every dealer in the hyper-competitive market of Tampa, Florida, can set their competitive drive aside, then I believe everyone can do it. It’s not often that you can get competitors in the same room working together to solve a common problem.
The AED Foundation is driving the workforce talks with members and schools, but this issue remains a top priority of the Association as well, including advocating for changes in federal law. Just as you’ve supported creating partnerships with local technical schools and dealerships, your support is needed in tackling the required changes in federal law. AED advocates daily for changes that will affect your bottom line, including encouraging the federal government to invest in the next generation of skilled technical workers. AED supported the reauthorizing of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, to reflect current workforce needs and to allow greater flexibility for state and local entities, nongovernmental organizations, community colleges, and technical schools. AED’s staff can spend hours upon hours with members of Congress advocating for an essential issue like this, but I would encourage you to take an hour or two out of your day and host your local representative.
The impact that you and your company’s executives can have on members of Congress cannot be underestimated. The fact that your company is a major economic driver in your community will have a great effect on the decision-making process of the members of Congress. The process is easy; all you need to do is reach out to your regional manager and say that you want to host your local member of Congress, and we will do our best to ensure it happens. During the meetings, you can personally advocate for an infrastructure plan, encourage certainty and predictability of the tax code, push for a larger investment in the next generation of skilled technical workers, ask for expanded domestic energy production, and promote international trade and commerce. Your involvement can help turn these legislative priorities into legislative accomplishments.