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Hiring Hoosiers: Labor shortage impacting auto shops

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Posted at 6:09 AM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 08:11:13-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Right now, we are seeing a labor shortage in a lot of fields including auto services.

Many dealerships and auto shops are pleading for more people to get into the industry.

Whether it’s a simple oil change or something’s not right under your hood getting those things fixed right now could take about a week or more to get scheduled because shops like Fortville Tire can’t find enough employees.

“There's not enough people doing it so there is a lot of labor shortage,” Brad Reynolds said.

Reynolds owns Fortville Tire.

“I am at least a week and a half out on scheduling,” Reynolds said, “If I don't have enough people to work on cars, I can't get them in and out fast enough.”

Reynolds told WRTV over the years he’s seen a huge decline in young people getting into the industry.

“Schools and everything else have for so many years now have prepped kids for ‘oh you have to have a college degree, you have to have a college degree,’ but especially in maintenance or even plumbing electrical service there's just not a lot of people going into those fields,” Reynolds said.

At Walker Career Center they’re working to fill that need.

“Our auto service classes they're always very popular,” Alyssa Criswell said.

“I mean this is one of the best classes I have like I love coming to this class,” Anthony Baker said.

Baker is a senior at Warren Central and through the auto services class has already secured a job at the school’s transportation center.

“I mostly do brake changes and tire changes or oil changes on buses cooling if they need it and we do inspections all around each bus,” Baker said.

Baker said it’s a career he hopes to continue post high school.

“I've always been interested in cars since I was little, so I always planned on working on cars,” Baker said.

Even at the career center, they can’t keep up with the demand for mechanics.

“I have employers that call me every week looking for students. They want to hire them even while they're still in high school. Many of them get the opportunity to go and spend part of their school day at a job so they can learn more skills get some training and then when they graduate they're ready to work full time,” Criswell said.

As for Reynolds, he says he’ll train you as long as you’re willing to work.

“If you like working with your hands and you like figuring out problems mechanics or like say electrical stuff is a great field to get into,” Reynolds said.

The average salary for a beginning mechanic is $46,880, that’s according to labor statistics.

Reynolds said as more and more people switch to electric and hybrid cars the industry is seeing a need for people to know how to work on them.

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