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WyoTech: More teachers needed to bridge skilled trades gap

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Announcements | Collision Repair | Education | Market Trends
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WyoTech, a Wyoming trade school, is encouraging skilled trades professionals to consider becoming teachers to help fill the ongoing talent gap.

“The demand in the trade industry is growing, as is the number of technicians who are reaching retirement age,” said Kyle Morris, WyoTech’s president. “And there is a dire need for the current generation of technicians and teachers to pass their knowledge and passion to the next generation so we can keep the trades — and therefore the country — up and running.”  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be approximately 14,800 openings for technical education teachers annually for the next decade to replace retiring or outgoing teachers. 

Separately, TechForce has said that 110,000 additional auto collision technicians will be needed through 2027.

WyoTech said that while the industry is aware of its efforts to support the next generation of technicians, the need for mentors and teachers is less known.

“There’s a huge need for teachers across the board. I can see it in our programs, and I can see it in other programs across the country,” said Tyler Mead, a WyoTech diesel instructor. 

“There’s lots of reasons to teach, and I often feel like I get way more enjoyment out of teaching than I do when I’m actually working on equipment. I get more reward out of it than I ever did ‘mechanicing.’ To see the progression and development of the students is out of this world.”  

Repairer Driven News has previously reported on the challenges trade schools have had recruiting instructors.

In April, Laura Garcia-Moreyra, an automotive technology instructor at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) said the college had been trying to recruit collision repair instructors for months, with little luck.  One listing posted in January received just one external application.

Garcia-Moreyra told RDN at the time that the shortage was caused by a “lack of qualified techs in the field [and] pay that is less than what a top tech in the field will earn.” She added the roles require a variety of office and people skills.

“All topics have vacancies, even our entry-level safety class,” she said, adding people are discouraged from applying because it’s “too far to drive, not enough pay and [candidates] don’t want to do associated administration work.”

Also in April, Laura Lozano, of Contra Costa College, said her employer has been struggling to fill instructor roles for years.

Lozano, a former technician who graduated from Contra Costa College, said she has found it gratifying to train the next generation of students and encouraged others in the field to give it a try.

“There’s a huge reward in working with the students,” she told RDN. “There’s a huge reward in contributing to the skill development that goes out into the industry.”

WyoTech said its teachers have experienced similar satisfaction from helping students develop and launch successful, well-paying careers.

“Working with one’s hands to build or repair is rewarding for many that do it, and that usually translates to personal happiness and contentment,” said Charles McDonald, a WyoTech trim and upholstery instructor. “I would suggest to anyone considering a teaching role to think about the impact they can have on someone’s life. It’s a good feeling to have a student reach out to you years later to thank you for impacting their life in a positive way.”

WyoTech is asking anyone interested in teaching for its students to visit its website for more information.


Featured image courtesy of Ridofranz/iStock

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