Automotive Service Technicians Given Their Due
National Automotive Service Professionals Week is being observed for the first time this year, calling attention to the once-maligned practitioners of an often-overlooked skill.
Twenty-three states (including Pennsylvania ) and the District of Columbia have joined in the June 11-17 recognition of automotive, truck and collision technicians, along with parts specialists and other support professionals who serve the motoring public. This year's weeklong celebration expands on the one-day observance held annually since 2001.
"For years, the automotive technician was looked down upon − and even stereotyped − as some uneducated, dim-witted rip-off artist," said Colin W. Williamson, dean of transportation technology at Penn College . "The media helped develop that image, which stayed in the minds of the customers of the 1950s and '60s."
As vehicles were required to burn fuel more efficiently and cleaner, advanced electronics enabled them to do both, the dean explained. The problem arose that the public needed a skilled, educated technician to fix their high-tech wonders whenthe vehicleseventually broke.
"The public had to adjust its stereotype, and technicians needed extensive training and education to keep up," Williamson said. The situation has progressed so far that today's automotive technician is working on the most technologically advanced piece of equipment on the market.
"Except for maybe the medical profession, no other occupational field needs as much annual technical updating as what an automotive technician must complete to stay current," he said. "It is high time the public realize the true nature of the occupation that they trust with a significant part of their life earnings − and, literally, with their lives."
Penn College helps prepare that qualified workforce through its automotive technology majors, which are Master-certified by the National Automotive Technician's Education Foundation and meet the standards for Automotive Service Excellence.
For more information on automotive programs in the School of Transportation Technology , visit online, send e-mailor call (570) 327-4516.