Blinn College conducting surveys as they explore auto technician job needs

By  | 

NAVASOTA, Tex. (KBTX) - Blinn College is exploring options to address the shortage of mechanics in the auto industry.

A week after their announcement not to expand that program to Brazos County, the college says it is consulting with area car dealerships to look at current needs and see if they can help.

Automobile technicians are in high demand. There's a sign saying, "Techs Needed" at Team Ford of Navasota.

"The biggest thing out here is our rural area. A lot of times in the Houston metro area, you've got such a high demand and high field, people don't realize that you've got small dealerships like ourselves," said Matt Nicholas, the Service Manager for Team Ford.

Nicholas says Blinn College contacted him last week.

"Talking about getting a mechanical program back in with the school, we would love to be involved with that," he said.

While these jobs are in high demand, another problem is promoting them. Many young people aren't pursuing this as a career.

"A lot of guys that are young don't know what they want to do. They don't realize a lot of mechanics that are diesel certified, they're making a six-figure living doing it. Not necessarily having a college education, you can get it with some technical training," Nicholas added.

The only place you can get certified in this field locally is Bryan High School. Bryan ISD tells News 3 they have more than 100 students enrolled in their automotive technology training.

Blinn says they regularly survey the Brazos Valley for what careers are in demand.

"If they're meeting the need, if the employers in the community are happy and understand that that product and that student is there, then maybe it's not something we need to offer, or maybe we need to offer something that supplements that," said Karen Buck, Blinn College, Blinn College Vice President for College Administration and Operations.

Blinn says they're only seeing about 25 job openings in the auto tech field each year, and they don't want to duplicate the Bryan ISD program.

Right now, car dealerships like Team Ford say they are having to recruit on their own.

"if you need anything we're hiring," said Nicholas.

Team Ford tells us mechanics that are certified to work on diesel engines are in very high demand. They can also make some of the higher salaries.

If you aren't in high school, the closest you can go to become certified in auto technology is Waco and Houston.