NADA Chairman Wes Lutz and Vice Chairman Charlie Gilchrist joined other business leaders at the White House on Wednesday for a discussion with President Trump and senior administration officials about the nation’s growing economy and the Administration’s comprehensive workforce development efforts.
The event came on the heels of a White House announcement earlier Wednesday that, since the establishment of the Administration’s Pledge to America’s Workers to improve workforce development and increase vocational training opportunities for students and workers over the next five years, more than 160 companies and organizations have pledged to create 6.39 million new enhanced career opportunities for America’s workers.
NADA has been a part of this important effort since it was launched in July through an executive order that established the President’s National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.
In August NADA leaders met with the White House to discuss the NADA Foundation’s own Workforce Initiative to promote the value of careers at new-car dealerships – especially service technicians – in the retail-automobile industry, and to explore ways in which the administration, NADA, and franchised dealers across the country could work together to help close the urgent skills crisis affecting auto retailing and other industries.
Local dealerships employ nearly 400,000 technicians nationwide, at median salary of more than $59,000, in jobs that provide health care and retirement benefits without a four-year college degree. However, local dealerships face an industry-wide shortage of nearly 70,000 workers.
“President Trump and his team clearly understand how this economy works and what we need to keep it growing,” said Lutz, who is also president of Extreme Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Jackson, Mich. “Some of the best-paying and most stable jobs in America don’t require four-year college degrees but are instead had by smart, hard-working people who get trained on the job and at technical schools. We need them at my dealership and I applaud President Trump for prioritizing this key issue.”
Encouraging private-sector investment in vocational training “represents an enormous opportunity for us to think about making sure that every American worker is equipped with the skills they need, whether they're in high school and they're looking to graduate and have a job ready for them upon graduation, or whether they're a mid- to late-career worker who is looking for an opportunity to learn a new skill or learn a new trade," said Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser, during Wednesday’s discussion at the White House.
NADA Vice Chairman Charlie Gilchrist, president of Gilchrist Automotive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said that efforts to provide training and education for in-demand jobs, such as those at franchised dealerships, will provide dividends far beyond just the auto retail sector.
“The men and women who do the vital work of keeping our cars and trucks safe on the road are in short supply, believe it or not,” said Gilchrist. “Yet dealership service technicians are some of the best paying jobs at my dealerships and thousands of others across the country. These jobs don’t necessarily require a four-year college degree, but what they do require is highly specialized technical training. President Trump has shown tremendous leadership in making this a national issue.”