WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Like nearly every other industry, car dealerships and repair shops are seeing long wait times because of supply chain problems due to COVID-19, but they’re also seeing a major shortage in auto technicians.
This isn’t a salary problem, many in this industry make six figures annually.
“We are constantly in search for technicians for one of our stores and the applications are far and few between,” said Terry West, fixed operations director for Eddy’s Everything.
Part of the reason is because of the amount of training that has increased in the automotive field.
“What used to be the grease monkey and people just assume you’re a bunch of backyard mechanics and so forth, those guys are gone,” said West.
“We need people that are qualified on all makes and models as well, so that complicates our situation from needing not just a factory trained GM or Ford, technician,” said Conner Ward, service manager for Don Hattan Dealerships.
Dustin Banwart is the owner of Banter Automotive Group on West Central. He says this lack of employees slows everything down.
“We’re having issues just getting someone to hang out and vacuum out the cars so before we show them to a customer they look presentable, uphold that reputation.”
For WSU Tech, they’re training students to enter this workforce, but the number of graduates doesn’t match the level of demand from employers.
“We get people wanting to know if we have technicians for them to go out into the field,” said Roy Lawhead, instructor for WSU Tech’s Automotive services. “You could say it’s on a regular basis, weekly basis should I say.”