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Tech apprenticeship program expands into Dallas-Fort Worth to address shortage

The region has an estimated 30 percent of unused bays due to lack of techs, and nearly 2,000 job openings posted on recruitment sites

Dallas—With an estimated 30 percent of Dallas-Fort Worth auto service bays unused for lack of service technicians, and nearly 2,000 area technician job openings posted on area job recruitment sites, an apprenticeship program to address that shortage is expanding to the area. Automotive Apprentice Group (AAG) matches auto dealership and truck center operations with area residents pursuing a path to a service and repair career.  

AAG was created by a former owner of numerous auto dealer operations throughout the nation, and in partnership with a workforce development expert and architect of a similar apprenticeship initiative in Australia.

The first-of-its-kind apprenticeship in the U.S. is a two-year program where apprentices are compensated at a competitive wage and with no out-of-pocket expenses (no incurred debt). AAG apprentices learn and develop skills through on-the-job training at local dealerships, discovery-based e-learning, and hands-on training and practice. Upon completion of the program, the apprentice earns a national certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. All necessary tools and a computer are provided to each apprentice.

For participating auto dealerships and truck centers, AAG stated the program is “turnkey”: AAG manages apprentice recruitment, conducting of candidate interviews, orientation, soft skills training, payroll and compensation, insurance, mentoring and ongoing career coaching, as well as the education and training for each apprentice.

AAG was initially launched in Louisville, Ky., then expanded to Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Jobs provided to apprentices upon program completion average an initial annual salary about $65,000. While just beginning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, several area residents have already enrolled in the program.  

AAG was founded by David Peterson, who previously owned auto dealerships around the nation for more than 40 years. He said he has witnessed firsthand the critical need of the next generation of skilled service technicians. Nationally, there are nearly 700,000 job openings for service technicians.

“The technician shortage is an industrywide challenge, yet there has never been a truly national program in place to address the shortage,” Peterson said. “I cherish the auto dealership industry, and this is something of a ‘calling’ for me.”

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