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I-CAR launches collaborative initiative to address technician shortage

Teamed with CREF, I-CAR plans to “quarterback” industry talent attraction marketing efforts while also helping to raise industry-wide talent

Hoffman Estates, Ill.—I-CAR has announced a new comprehensive initiative aimed at improving the technician shortage. Program components are planned for roll-out as early as this year, with additional elements launching throughout 2023 and 2024.

This multi-faceted initiative covers the entry-level technician success journey with several key and integrated solution elements designed to increase the number of qualified entry-level technicians entering — and remaining — in the collision repair inter-industry:

  • Attracting Talent to the Collision Repair Industry — With initial focus on technicians, I-CAR plans to “quarterback” industry-wide efforts with like-minded industry partners to attract more talent to the industry through enhanced industry branding, targeted campaigns while sharing and coordinating such efforts with program participant schools, repair facilities and other organizations to increase reach and outcomes.
  • Enhanced Entry-Level Educational Programming — For both Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools and repair facilities to better prepare talent for entry level success. This will include mentoring and an industry apprenticeship programming option for both schools and Gold Class repair facilities.
  • CTE School Development Programs — Additional support for CTE schools to help them fully utilize new educational programming, provide enhanced access to needed funding and equipment/materials, attract more students, and better prepare students for successful transition to employment.
  • Programming to help especially Gold Class shops more successfully onboard, develop and retain talent — Including mentoring programming plus a suite of shop relevant HR training and best practices.

“The deepening technician shortage, exasperated by COVID-19, continues to challenge the collision repair industry amid one of the most compelling and transformative eras of automotive innovation, prompting new opportunities for the inter-industry to lean in together with an integrated, collaborative and robust approach,” said John Van Alstyne, I-CAR president and CEO.

“We are committed to an integrated approach that considers the full talent value chain, and one which ensures current and future generations of talent recognize the tremendous career opportunities inherent in this changing, dynamic field,” Van Alstyne said. “This important initiative will benefit all inter-industry segments that I-CAR serves: repairers, schools, OEMs, insurers, suppliers and service providers — collaborating together to make a positive impact on the industry’s growing labor challenges. And to spearhead this initiative, we are pleased to announce the addition of Dara Goroff to the I-CAR team as vice president, Planning & Industry Talent Programming.”

Van Alstyne also noted I-CAR’s longtime partnership with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF). “I-CAR and CREF are uniquely positioned to address this critical industry issue, seamlessly collaborating to increase school and student support, tapping into our combined network of support and resources throughout the country, allowing us to build upon existing wins versus duplicating efforts.”

Added Brandon Eckenrode, managing director of CREF, “I-CAR and CREF share a long-standing vision of developing qualified, properly trained and immediately productive entry-level employees to meet current and future industry needs, so these new programming initiatives will only enhance efforts. CREF looks forward to collaborating with I-CAR on this initiative and coordinating efforts to raise the level of support to high school and college collision programs and beyond across the country.”

The industry’s support and overall belief in education that contributes to complete, safe and quality repairs has enabled I-CAR to pursue mission-driven work that assists in finding and implementing a solution to the technician shortage. As further demonstrated, in a recent I-CAR survey, 2.5 additional technicians are needed per shop.

Dara Goroff, a 10-year veteran in collision repair, explained, “In reality the talent crisis and the technician shortage, specifically, is a complex issue with many layers and nuances requiring an integrated approach to tackle each aspect. From recruiting and vetting to mentoring, training and retaining new talent to address the shortage, all of these components must work together and be part of a comprehensive solution.”

Goroff added that I-CAR will provide regular progress updates to the inter-industry.

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