Stoughton Repair Shop combats auto job shortage

Stoughton, Wis (WMTV) -- As a worker shortage impacts the auto repair industry, a local repair shop is working to find workers in a clever way to get more Millennials turning wrenches.

Conant Automotive in Stoughton teamed up with the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association to combat the job shortage. The shop, the association and the aspiring student split tuition in three ways --making it cheaper for students to get the education they need to be a technician.

Auto technicians tell me baby boomers are retiring and not many Millennials want to do the job.

"So for the brake inspection, we always test drive and making sure there is nothing like pulsating, squeaking or anything like that and for the oil change it is kind of self-explanatory,” Swenson said.

It’s self-explanatory for 19-year-old James Swenson. He’s a second year auto student at Madison Area Technical College (MATC).

"You shake it down, track tire and everything like that, all the filters," Swenson said.

The job tends to get messy.

“Yeah. I had to wash up several times,” he said.

But the grit and grime didn't steer him away from a field that's lacking millennials.

"There’s no one young coming so who's going to fix all these vehicles because all vehicles break," Joe Conant, Conant Automotive Owner said.

"It’s just a great learning experience. You can learn whatever you want about your vehicles and you can work on your own at some point too," Swenson said.

It's an incentive the repair shop owner said is essential for getting young people to join the career path.

The owner said not only does this program help fix the shortage of mechanics, but it also gives students a career with financial stability.

"When a student comes out of MATC with this program, they hardly don't have anything left in student loans. They come out with their tires spinning with tools and knowledge to get them in the door to start working and make a decent living," Conant said.

MATC officials said automotive technology enrollment has been steady in the last five years. But overall, there's a desperate need for skilled-workers in the work force.