Why Diesel Technicians are so Vital to the Trucking Industry
September 19-22, 2021 is National Technician Appreciation Week (NTAW) where people and organizations around the United States show their appreciation for the outstanding technicians that keep America moving forward. The celebration was created fairly recently, in 2020 by the American Trucking Association and the ATA's Technology and Maintenance Council "to provide an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and commitment of the professional technicians of the trucking industry". The holiday is directly following the Truck Driver Appreciation Week, bringing attention to the transportation industry nationwide.
Professional technicians are the behind-the-scenes workers that keep America rolling. National Technician Appreciation Week is to bring awareness and honor the men and women who are in one of the most demanding and challenging jobs in the workforce. Technicians are responsible for the fleet's safety, upkeep, and fuel economy for a company, doing the job that not many are able to do.
Diesel technicians' basic job is essential to the trucking industry: to fix and maintain the equipment to keep drivers and companies moving. Technicians are responsible for inspecting and repairing truck and trailer equipment, but there's more to it than that. The industry has rigorous safety standards that need to be upheld, which is anything from quick repairs to performing DOT inspections. Not only are they trained to deal with general maintenance, but they are experts in their assigned fields, like cryogenics for example. They save the company money through ingenuity and no outsourcing jobs to maintenance shops. Lastly, diesel techs keep companies honest because it is their work that is being evaluated. If a technician says something isn't safe or being done right, they have the power to change it.
With the impact of COVID 19 starting to become more prevalent, there is a growing demand for Diesel Technicians across the country. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that in 2020, there were approximately 275,400 diesel technicians in the United States. It is projected that between 2014 and 2024 the demand for diesel technicians will grow by 12%, a pace that is faster on average for all other occupations. To meet the demand by 2022, 67,000 techs will be needed and 75,000 new techs must be added to the industry. Baby Boomers make up 40-50% of the current technician workforce, and with them expected to retire between now and 2030, the shortage is anticipated to grow.
Currently in the United States, U.S. schools are averaging 3,500 new technicians a year, which is far off of the total 200,000 over the next 10 years to meet the current truck maintenance demands. The shortage of technicians is already impacting the trucking industry, creating issues with inefficiency and dissatisfaction among drivers and customers, already costing the industry $2.5 billion a year.
Here are some ways to show your gratitude this week and every week:
- Send a thank you to a tech you know.
- Share your appreciation on social media and use #NTAW and #ThankATech in your posts!
- Give a shoutout to a special tech in your life.