The labor shortage of automotive technicians is not easing up: if anything, it’s getting worse. There are approximately 750,000 auto technicians and mechanics in the U.S. today, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In order to meet anticipated demand and respond to attrition, the bureau has estimated that the automotive industry will need about 46,000 more technicians by 2026. This means the availability of technicians needs to be growing six percent per year.

It’s not.

Consider that the average new vehicle dealership employs 19 technicians per store. Even with average turnover, this means they need a steady stream of educated technicians to fill positions.

To address the shortage, many dealerships are forming partnerships with technical schools to train their own technicians. Prime Motor Group, the second-largest automobile dealership in New England, recently announced that it has joined with Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) to create a program that will help the company meet its demand for trained and motivated technicians. Prime sells 22 car brands at 39 dealerships in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

BFIT is a private, non-profit two-year technical school located in in Boston. Prime has been hiring graduates of BFIT for years, but only recently chose to develop a formalized program to help train technicians. In 2018, the dealership group debuted the Prime Scholars program, which trained 15 students and provided them with pre-graduation jobs and work experience at Prime properties.

Tony Benoit, president of BFIT, told Boston Business Journal that more than 94 percent of its graduates are placed in jobs or continue into advanced higher education within six months of graduation, earning an average first-year salary over $38,000.

“BFIT and Prime connect with students coming out of high school who have an interest in the automotive field, and Prime provides a scholarship to support college attendance along with a part-time job working at one of its dealerships,” reported Boston Business Journal.