The first and often most difficult job when it comes to training technicians for automotive manufacturing isn’t the math or science, it’s convincing their parents that college shouldn’t necessarily be the goal, according to Southern educators. The point was made at a session of the Southern Automotive Conference dedicated to recruiting top talent in the rural Southeast, led by Ron Davis and Donny Jones of Alabama and James Williams of Mississippi.
Graduates of the two-year auto-mechanics training courses at Lawson State Community College’s campus in Bessemer, Alabama, often win starting salaries in the high-$40, 000 to $60, 000 range if they get on at auto dealerships. Alabama’s median household income, by comparison, is about $44, 000.
When parents hear those numbers they tend to adjust their thinking about the necessity of a four-year college degree, the presenters said.
But that pitch usually has to come from instructors rather than their own children and it doesn’t hurt to throw in comparisons about student debt generated by two-year technical schools versus four-year degree programs.
Text by Dave Helms