Collision repairers call themselves “I-CAR certified,” “Ford certified,” “ASE certified” — but are they using the terms correctly, and if so, do customers even understand or…
Putting their money, time and a national marketing firm to work on the project, AASP-MN and other partners have combined on a $250,000 two-year campaign to get high schoolers, parents and counselors thinking about a career in the automotive aftermarket.
“It’s a big deal,” Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota Executive Director Judell Anderson said in an interview Tuesday. “… We want it to be comprehensive, and at a high level and professional.”
AASP-MN on Thursday formally announced the effort, a 501(c)6 nonprofit initiative known as Minnesota Careers in Automotive Repair and Service, and the initiative’s CarCareers.org website. The push is also supported and funded by the Minnesota Transportation Center, an organization of technical colleges and partners.
Autoshop Solutions will manage the site. Risdall Marketing Group will run the larger campaign.
“We are thrilled to be able to work with MNCARS on this campaign,” Autoshop Solutions CEO Danny Sanchez said in a statement. “CarCareers.org will serve as a positive introduction to the industry for thousands of people, and we are proud that we were chosen to help bring the campaign to life.”
Anderson, whose organization represents both the mechanical service/repair and collision repair industries in Minnesota, stressed the relevance of the campaign to both elements of the automotive aftermarket.
“CarCareers.org will help parents, teachers, influencers and students overcome misperceptions about the automotive industry and attract the qualified job candidates employers desperately need,” she said in a statement Thursday. “With hundreds of jobs waiting for skilled employees, the time is now to attract new professionals to our technology-driven field.”
The MNCARS initiative doesn’t seek to lure existing technicians or college graduates into Minnesota garages and body shops. Instead, it tries to convince high schoolers — and skeptical parents — that the youth should pursue such a career in the first place. It also tries to provide more resources to high school guidance counselors, another useful cheerleader for the industry.
Besides reasons to pick such a job — “stable, long-term employment that allows you to work anywhere in the country” — the website includes clever pitches designed to achieve some of the campaign’s key goals:
Career options: Success stories and information to illustrate the breadth of front- and back-office automotive careers.
High-tech: Promote the high-tech nature of the modern auto shop.
“You’ll see technicians working on cars, of course,” the website states. “But you’ll also see them consulting computers and working in bright, open spaces. At the desk, the service advisors answer difficult questions and guide customers through the process of having their vehicles repaired or maintained. Technology and customer service are paramount.”
Give the facts: Dispel misperceptions about service and repair jobs (“dirty,” “just for men,” “don’t make competitive salaries”).
It also links back to an Auto Care Association job board. Anderson said an individual, Minnesota-focused one might come further down the road.
Earlier in the month, the campaign could be seen in the Suburban Chevrolet and PPG booths at the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s high-profile “Back to the 50’s” car show. Next month, it’ll appear at the Street Machine Nationals event July 15- 17.
“These events are a great forum to reach car hobbyists and get them thinking about turning their love for cars into a rewarding career,” Anderson said in a statement.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the marketing campaign manager for the MNCARS initiative. Risdall Marketing Group will manage the publicity. The article has since been corrected.
An caption in this article incorrectly identified the booth seen in the picture. PPG regional business development manager Randy Cahoy was in the PPG booth. The caption has since been changed.
Minnesota Careers in Automotive Repair and Service via AASP-MN, June 30, 2016
PPG regional business development manager Randy Cahoy poses with promotional materials for the CarCareers.org initiative in the PPG booth at the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s “Back to the 50’s” car show in June 2016. PPG sponsored the Minnesota Careers in Automotive Repair and Service initiative behind the website. (Provided by Alliance of Automotive Service Providers-Minnesota)
The Minnesota Careers in Automotive Repair and Service unveiled the CarCareers.org website on July 30, 2016. (Screenshot from www.carcareers.org)