Scott Fisler, an ASE Certified automotive instructor from St. Francis, Wisconsin, was recently honored as the Byrl Shoemaker/ASE Education Foundation Instructor of the Year.
The news comes at a time when the U.S. faces not only a shortage of collision repair technicians but also training programs and instructors.
TechForce Foundation’s latest Technician Supply & Demand report found that student graduations in all automotive segments increased in 2022 — more than 5% in collision repair — while filling a shortage of instructors is thought to be one way to pull more students in.
Although 4,725 graduates in 2022 were higher than the 4,487 that graduated in 2021, the difference compared to 2013 was still 45% lower, according to TechForce.
A 2022 survey commissioned by the Collision Engineering Program (CEP) found that there’s a lack of awareness about collision repair careers, although people are open to exploring them. Seventeen percent of respondents said they were “very familiar” with collision repair or engineering, and that those who were familiar with the industry were more likely to pursue a career within it.
The survey also showed that respondents with less than 10 years of work experience are more likely to switch their careers to collision engineering when compared to others who’ve worked in a separate industry for more than a decade.
Some programs, including one in Pennsylvania, have had to shutter their programs because of a lack of students and/or teachers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 14,800 openings for technical education teachers annually for the next decade to replace retiring or outgoing teachers.
Schools in Virginia, California, and Wyoming including Contra Costa College, one of seven CEP colleges, also face a lack of instructors.
Fifty-three automotive professionals were recently recognized at the fall ASE Board of Governors meeting held at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa in Clearwater, Florida.
Thirty-five companies from both OEM and aftermarket segments sponsored the individual technician recognition awards in the auto, truck, collision, parts, and service categories along with awards for instructors. In addition to looking for top scores on ASE tests, award sponsors examine on-the-job excellence, community service, and other factors when selecting honorees.
The ASE annual awards spotlight top scorers on the ASE Certification tests from among the ranks of the approximately quarter million ASE Certified professionals nationwide. Fisler teaches at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
“ASE has honored extraordinary industry professionals from across the nation for more than 40 years,” said Mike Coley, ASE Education Foundation president. “This esteemed award is given by the ASE Education Foundation in memory of Byrl Shoemaker, a champion of automotive education. We are proud to recognize Scott Fisler’s commitment to excellence in providing the very best in automotive technology education to his students. This dedication is reflected in the talented professionals we recognize each year and Scott represents the best of the best.”
This week also wraps up nominations for another set of annual awards — TechForce Foundation’s Techs Rock Awards. Nominations close Jan. 14.
The awards recognize students and professional technicians who show passion and dedication for the profession, serve as role models, and inspire the next generation of tech enthusiasts.
One professional technician and one technical student will be chosen from each of the awards’ five categories — automotive and motorsports; diesel; collision, restoration, and welding; aviation, motorcycle, and marine, and emerging technologies. Two winners from each category will be chosen by a panel of judges then two grand prize winners will be picked from that pool of winners.
Two grand prize winners will be chosen, one aspiring tech and one working tech. They will be sent on an all-inclusive trip to Arizona to receive their award including an exclusive dinner with top industry leaders and a weeklong electric vehicle (EV) rental to “experience the thrill of eco-friendly, high-performance driving in style,” according to TechForce.
Eight runners-up will each receive a $500 Auto Zone gift card.
Judges for the Techs Rock Awards include:
- ChrisFix – automotive YouTuber
- Sabré Cook – professional racing driver and mechanical engineer
- JP Emerson – automotive journalist and The JP Emerson Show host
- John Gardner – host of “Tech Garage” and “Motorhead Garage”
- MBP, Shoreline, and Six – Hosts of the Cancelled for Maintenance Podcast
- Humble Mechanic – Humble Mechanic YouTube channel host
- Frank Leutz – Wrench Nation Car Talk Radio host and Desert Car Care of Cave Creek owner
- Emily Reeves – Flying Sparks Garage co-host
- Brandon Steckler –Motor Age Magazine technical editors
- Micki Woods –Micki Woods Marketing president and Body Bangin’ podcast host
To submit nominations, visit TechForce.org/TechsRock, click “nominate,” “I want to nominate,” start the nomination form then click “next,” and “send.” Voting takes place Feb. 14-28. The winners will be announced on March 7.
Featured image: ASE Education Foundation President Mike Coley, ASE Board of Directors Chair Homer Hogg, and past ASE President and CEO Tim Zilke presented the ASE Instructor of the Year Award to Scott Fisler at the ASE Board of Governors 2023 fall meeting. (Photo provided by ASE)