Walk into any service center and you’ll see the vast majority of technicians are male. In fact, a study done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020 found that only 9% of all automotive technicians in the United States are women. While this is a 7% improvement from 2018 (which is huge), we still have a lot of work to do.
If we want to start seeing more females working in the bays, then shops and schools need to work together to focus on getting more young females interested in technician programs. How can we do that? Check out our suggestions below!
6 Ways to Attract Women to Technician Programs
Offer Female-Only Scholarships
According to CostHelper Education, the average 2-year training at a technical college can cost upwards of $25,000. Although that is less than attending most 4-year universities, it is still quite an expense for a young adult to take on. To help ease the financial burden, schools can create a scholarship specifically for female student technicians. This may attract more females to attend technician programs. Local shops can even contribute to the scholarship funds — ensuring their shop is the first that female technician thinks of after graduation.
Start a “Women in the Trades” Career Fair
There are hundreds of thousands of career fairs happening in-person and virtually every year, so why not host one specifically for women who are interested in the skilled trades? Without males attending, females may feel less intimidated and more likely to ask questions and learn about opportunities for them in the automotive industry. This is a great opportunity for shops to showcase their female technicians and schools to highlight their female alumni.
Get In Front of Junior High and High School Students
For more females to consider a career as a technician, schools need to get the benefits of being a technician in front of young, female students at the junior high and high school level. Speaking to a tech ed class is the most obvious choice. However, there may be less females taking tech ed classes. With the advances in automotive technology, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be speaking to students in science classes.
Bring Attention to Industry Organizations for Women
A number of schools have female-only groups and organizations targeted at empowering young, female students. Try starting an organization for female students interested in automotive. This will allow young women interested in technician careers to meet other like-minded females. Let’s face it — it’s always great to talk to someone who has job experience or interest in similar careers.
If your school doesn’t have the capacity to create a new organization, there are a number of organizations females who are interested in a career in automotive can get involved with, including:
Take a good look at the marketing for your technician programs:
- Do your photos include female technicians?
- Is the copy on your marketing materials gender neutral?
- Do you have marketing materials that specifically speak to females?
These are questions that should be addressed in all of the marketing you do, including: social media, advertising, flyers, your website, seminars, etc.
Offer Flexibility in Your Technician Program
How is your technician program laid out? Is it all day? Most days? You might want to consider how a female student, who is possibly working while going to school or taking care of their children, is able to balance school and life.
Consider offering night classes so females can work during the day to help support their families. Some of your female students might be single moms supporting their children, or working long hours to support themselves. Not only will this allow more female students to get involved in technician programs, but more male students as well.
One option is to consider having a hybrid training program. Most of the training to become a technician is in person, but with companies like zSpace, students in technician programs now have the ability to learn key skills from home.