The auto industry needs workers with more advanced skills, said Kristin Dziczek of the Center for Automotive Research at the the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual Workforce Development Institute.
Auto manufacturing jobs fell by 54 percent at the depths of the recession and are now rebounding, but the new jobs require new skill sets, Dziczek said. Community colleges will need to retool automotive job training.
As baby boomers retire, auto makers will be looking for new hires with the “cross skills” to do a variety of jobs.
There is a growing role for tech support in auto repair, and mechanics need more “soft skills”—like problem-solving and customer relations skills—as well as the ability to understand data storage and analysis, Dziczek said.
Community colleges should specialize in training workers for certain industries and “cultivate your brand” as “the place they’ll go to for skilled workers,” Dziczek said.