One hundred thousand and growing—that’s the current shortage of technicians nationally, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor.And according to industry experts, the shortage is likely to balloon to 250,000 over the next 10 years. In today’s economy, young workers have a wide variety of job opportunities available to them.Many auto retailers are finding that those who are seeking jobs either aren’t interested in a career in automotive technology, or don’t have the basic skills they need to be successful.So, what’s being done to meet the demand for technicians?Well, here are two options currently available to New Jersey’s auto retailers. Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES).For those dealers interested in “growing your own,” the AYES program promotes the exploration of retail automotive careers among students at the high-school level.During their junior and senior years, participating AYES students learn the basics of automotive technology, in addition to relevant skills in math, science and communications.They also learn through on-the-job experiences at participating dealerships and retail facilities.Upon graduation, these students can go directly into full-time employment at a dealership or pursue further studies at the college level. NJ CAR has been actively involved in expanding the AYES program throughout New Jersey over the last four years.Likewise, many dealerships play a key role in the AYES program, by making part-time work opportunities available to AYES students and serving as mentors to eager students, which will provide many potential long-term benefits to participating dealerships.However, even more dealerships are needed to be able to place all AYES students. Post-Secondary Training.Not too far removed from AYES, there are a number of post-secondary training programs in New Jersey that the progressive dealership may align itself with to provide a steady stream of technician candidates. Brookdale Community College, Lincroft.The community college of Monmouth County, Brookdale provides factory-backed training for GM ASEP, Toyota T-TEN and Volvo, as well as a general automotive program. Camden County College, Blackwood.South Jersey dealers can find technician candidates in this school’s GM ASEP, Toyota T-TEN and general automotive programs. Gloucester County College, Sewell.Many Ford dealers will recognize the term Ford ASSET.Recent changes in Ford’s training strategy left Gloucester County College as the only ASSET program in the State. Lincoln Technical Institute.With training facilities in Union, and more recently in Mahwah, LTI has been graduating “trained” technicians for many years.Most recently, LTI, in conjunction with the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA), has worked to build a $25-million state-of-the-art auto technician training facility in Whitestone, New York.With these three training locations, Lincoln Tech will be able to substantially increase the number of students enrolled in its automotive technician training programs. Mercer County College, Mercerville.DaimlerChrysler dealers in New Jersey can find well-trained entry-level technicians in Mercer’s Chrysler CAP program. Middlesex County College, Piscataway.Once the home of New Jersey’s other Ford ASSET program, Middlesex Community College now houses Ford’s one-year MLR (Maintenance & Light Repair) program. Engine City Tech, Union.A for-profit institution, ECT provides training to future diesel and heavy-truck technicians. The “ideal” situation would be for students who have completed the AYES program to then go on to attend a more in-depth training program, like the ones offered by all of the above post-secondary schools. Dealers interested in finding out more about the AYES program, including how your dealership can play a role in helping to place AYES students or wishing to contact one of the above post-secondary institutions, should contact Mark McAleer at Coalition headquarters: 609.883.5056, ext. 332.