Blinn College conducting surveys as they explore auto technician job needs

Published: Dec. 19, 2016 at 5:47 PM CST
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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.


Local auto mechanics see need for education options in B/CS Local auto mechanics see need for education options in B/CS By Clay Falls | Posted: Thu 6:20 PM, Dec 15, 2016 | Updated: Thu 6:52 PM, Dec 15, 2016 COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - There's a job in demand in the Brazos Valley, but limited opportunities to learn. One local business owner and multiple car experts say there's a need for more local training in automotive technology. Taylor McGee is a part-time Lube Technician at Pilger's Tire and Auto Center. "I just knew that I wanted to get a job doing something with cars because that's what I enjoy doing," said McGee. He's a math major at Blinn College and would like to see more options or schools to study cars. "A lot of people don’t really know what steps to take to get where they want to go. It’s kind of hard to figure it out on your own. If they can help guide you through it that would be really nice." he said. Earlier this week, Blinn announced they don't currently have plans to expand auto mechanics training in Brazos County. "Experienced technicians are hard to find," said Rick Pilger, who has been in the car maintenance business since 1975. "There are not as many young people wanting to go into the business as there used to be and the nature of the beast has become a lot more sophisticated, it takes a lot more training a lot more electrical computers. It just seems to be that it’s hard to find somebody that’s willing to put the time in to learn that," said Pilger. He'd like to see more options for aspiring mechanics. "Even if it wasn't a full-time type training if they just offered you know continuing education in the field would be really good," he said. The folks at Pilger's tell us there are job opportunities available in the industry but like electricians and plumbers and other trades, it's a matter of finding enough people qualified for the work. Charlie Weltens is one of only two technicians at Pilger's and has been in the industry 23 years. Many of their entry-level employees come in without experience and have to train here for several months. "If we had a tech school here, a trade school it'd be a huge help. When I was younger I actually went to Waco went to TSTC but a local school here with our community and the size we are I think would be a huge benefit." he said. Some of the options for automotive technology include Texas State Technical College in Waco and San Jacinto College in Pasadena. Turkey gunman who killed Russian ambassador shouted 'Don't forget Syria'