LUBBOCK, Texas — A shortage of auto technicians has plagued car shops nationwide and Lubbock is not immune to it. On Thursday, EverythingLubbock.com visited a local car shop to see how much the shortage is affecting them.
Hub City Body Shop in Lubbock told EverythingLubbock.com that its experiencing a gap in people coming into the field, causing the current technicians to work more than usual and wait times for customers to be longer than usual.
“A normal day is a 12-hour shift at least for sure – or 14,” Devon White, a collision repair technician at Hub City Body Shop said. “We have tons of work to do but not the manpower to push it out like we should be able to.”
However, it’s not just their shop. Many other car shops nationwide and in Lubbock are experiencing the shortage first-hand, too.
“We’re all in the same boat. We’re all trying to find technicians and it’s just a dry well. We’re not finding them,” the owner of Hub City Body Shop, Dan Seay said.
According to a study by TechForce, the country needs over 250,000 new technicians every year, but there are only 48,000 students graduating from technician programs every year.
Seay believes part of this large gap could be due to a stigma against blue-collar jobs.
“My generation was told that we needed to go to college, or we weren’t going to be able to make it and I think that’s been part of the problem is there’s a little stigma with blue-collar work but these guys that are working in my body shop are making six-figure incomes,” Seay said.
He believes the problem could be solved with the help of automotive classes in high schools so young students can try it out at a younger age and realize if it’s a passion of theirs.
Students like Aaniyah Jones are taking high school auto tech classes at the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center. Around 300 other students currently take the course in one year.
“I would go into the automotive field. I would probably see myself working in an automotive business or something like that working on cars or changing oil,” Jones said.
Jones also wants to change the course of the automotive industry while she’s at it. She wants to encourage more women to go into the field.
White, along with Jones, is passionate about the automotive industry after dreaming of working with cars since he was younger. White is proud of the job he has and hopes others can see just how important it is, too.
“I’m always proud to say that I’m a collision repair technician and I have no problem doing what I do. I think it’s great. It’s very respectable,” White said.