Vet News: Auto Industry Announces 'Hire The Heroes' Program

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To combat a looming shortage of qualified auto repair technicians, a leading automotive industry group is joining forces with the U.S. military to match qualified recent military Veterans with available jobs. The new initiative, known as Hire the Heroes, will provide links between thousands of auto dealers and military outplacement agencies to make career paths in auto retailing available to Veterans making the transition to civilian life.

Automotive Retailing Today (ART), the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and representatives from the United States Marines and the United States Army announced the new program at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) annual convention in Las Vegas.

ART Chairman James Willingham said, "The Hire the Heroes initiative will give thousands of automobile dealers the opportunity to network with military outplacement personnel and to develop strategic relationships to ease the transition for America’s Veterans into satisfying service technician careers." He noted that the pool of recent military Veterans includes technologically savvy, motivated workers whose skills may be easily adaptable to auto repair positions and other auto dealership careers.

Captain Debbie Wood with the United States Marine Corps Marine For Life program said, "Hire the Heroes is a powerful partnership between the auto industry and America’s armed forces. We have a vested interest in finding superior civilian employment opportunities for our Veterans."

America’s automotive sector is resurging along with the U.S. economy. Statistics forecast that the auto industry will need 35,000 workers annually for new auto technician jobs in this decade alone, as well as tens of thousands more people for sales, finance and other jobs in auto dealerships. The Hire the Heroes initiative is one facet of an ongoing industry strategy to find qualified workers for these key positions.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kurt A. Schultz with the United States Army Ordnance Center and Mechanical Maintenance School said, "Our Veterans are known for their accomplishments as warriors, but these soldiers also are some of the most highly trained technicians in their field. The Army uses ASE certifications in our professional development models for mechanics, and we award promotion points for ASE and other civilian technical certifications as well. But perhaps the biggest advantage to hiring a veteran has to do with character. Our soldiers are extensively trained in values, ethics, and diversity. They show up on time, are mission oriented, and respect authority. Hiring a veteran is one of the best investments an employer can make."

Loaded with experience and high-tech skills, America’s new vets are transitioning into the private sector and looking for work. At the same time, auto dealers everywhere are looking for solid, stable, loyal employees who are willing to work hard and reap the benefits.

"The qualities demonstrated by military personnel are the same qualities every dealer looks for in an employee," said Trish Serratore, Group Vice President, Industry Relations, ASE. She noted that many military positions provide training that can be easily transferred to a dealership job. "For example, military vehicle maintenance and repair skills can translate to a service technician position. Tracking inventory for the military may well qualify workers for a parts position at a dealership. And the exacting communications skills of a military instructor might fill the requirements of a showroom sales position." She continued, "Hire the Heroes is a great way to introduce these talented individuals to a satisfying new career."

Automotive Retailing Today is a coalition that includes all major automobile manufacturers and dealer organizations. It works to promote better understanding of the industry and build stronger customer relationships.

For more information on Hire the Heroes, visit the NADA Website at www.nada.org.

SOURCE: PR Newswire

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