FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public and Media Relations Manager
Jensen Tire & Auto funding introduces area high school students to growing,
technology-driven careers in automotive industry
Henry reaching hundreds of students in first year in role to elevate employment in local sector
OMAHA, Neb. (June 9, 2022)
— Jensen Tire & Auto, a family-run automotive services provider, will celebrate its 50-year anniversary serving the Omaha area in 2023. The company has seen a great deal of change in the industry throughout its history, with the past decade ushering in some of the biggest advancements — technology that has enabled electric vehicles, enhanced safety features, automated driver assistance technologies, and improved diagnostics and performance. As cars today more closely resemble rolling computers, and as baby boomers simultaneously retire from service shops across the country, Jensen Tire & Auto is funding Metropolitan Community College outreach intended to inject the local sector with a talent pool of young workers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 69,000 openings for automotive service technicians and mechanics are projected each year through 2030 with most openings expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer occupations or exit the labor force. Scott Henry, MCC automotive outreach specialist — the position funded by Jensen Tire & Auto — spends his workdays recruiting high school students to bridge the gap throughout a four-county region (Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge and Washington) to enroll in MCC technical training programs. He visits schools to give in-class presentations, brings large groups to tour MCC facilities, attends career fairs, hosts open houses and goes to industry events.
Nick Jensen, vice president of retail operations for Jensen Tire & Auto, said the College’s investment in its Automotive Training Center, a more than 100,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, provides specialized auto collision and automotive technology education that is ideally suited to train the automotive workforce of today and tomorrow.
“When I got into the industry 20 years ago, the standard of training used to be, ‘Hey, go ahead and follow this guy around, and in a year or so, you’ll be ready to go,” Jensen said. “We don’t have the time or people to do that anymore, so we rely on the community colleges to train the workforce on the latest technology because it’s always changing.
“MCC has really come to the table in recent years and improved its facilities. Students are well prepared for careers because MCC programs take students off-site for training with instructors rather than doing traditional job shadowing.”
In just under a year in the role, Henry has presented to more than 500 students who mostly attend schools that no longer offer automotive programs. The goal of Henry’s role is to raise awareness about the lucrative careers the automotive industry offers and the diverse pathways MCC and its industry partners are creating for students to receive education at little or no cost — often with paid off-site learning integrated.
Jensen said another advantage of the MCC educational model is it allows students to concentrate on learning instead of shadowing someone who might be more concerned with getting the job done in a timely manner for a customer rather than focusing on the teaching component with the student.
Scott Broady, MCC associate dean of Industrial Technology, said having the commitment of Jensen Tire & Auto will benefit the entire industry.
“Jensen sees the overall need in the industry. As schools across the country transitioned away from the trades, it created an awareness gap about career opportunities, wage growth and what the experience is today working in a modern shop,” Broady said. “Having a position solely dedicated to reconnecting young people to careers in the field raises all boats in the industry. MCC, the area automotive industry and the greater community is fortunate to have Jensen’s support.”
Henry began working in the role during the surge of the COVID-19 delta variant in July 2021, and unique economic conditions affecting the automotive industry have followed. In addition to technological innovation driving wage growth, supply chain issues affecting the availability of new vehicles, higher fuel prices and increased travel expenses are also fueling demand for workers in the industry.
“I would estimate that in just the last five years, wages are up almost 50% and the used car market has increased by about the same margin more recently. People are holding onto their vehicles longer, and we need great technicians to fix them,” Jensen said. “There are a lot more jobs available, so the more we can get people interested in the trades, the greater impact it will have on the local workforce. As an industry, we just need to continue to come together and show the value we bring to the community.”
The MCC Automotive Technology program is accredited by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation (Master level), Mopar® Career Automotive Program and offers more than 19 National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) certifications to both students and the public through MCC Continuing Education programs. MCC was the first college in Nebraska to offer NC3 certifications.
For more information about MCC Automotive Technology and Automotive Collision Repair programs, visit mccneb.edu/automotive-technology or email Scott Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org
. For more information about Jensen Tire & Auto and its 21 locations visit jensentireandauto.com.
Metropolitan Community College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a comprehensive, public community college that offers affordable, quality education to all residents of Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. Founded in 1974, MCC has the largest enrollment out of six community colleges in Nebraska and is the second largest postsecondary institution in the state. MCC serves more than 40,000 unique credit and noncredit students.