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Experts say the auto tech industry is on the decline, we looked into why

Posted at 7:50 AM, Apr 25, 2024

CENTRAL TEXAS — "People are afraid to do it. They're afraid to jump in," Hill College student Trey Arhend said.

Fear—that's what Arhend believes is stopping a lot of local young adults like him from getting into the automotive industry.

"Especially the way cars are advancing nowadays, it's a lot more complex," Arhend said.

But for Arhend, his motives are different. Working on cars is his way out.

"I saw cars as a little different opportunity for me to escape school. And all that stuff. I went to an early college high school that didn't have extracurriculars and all that," Arhend said.

Dr. Jerry Hampton teaches an automotive class at Hill College in Cleburne. He told me the automotive industry is a dying field.

"We are in danger of not having enough people in this business to fix cars in the next 10 years. Right now, they're saying they need 54,000 technicians in Texas alone," Dr. Hampton said.

What does that mean for Central Texas?

To find the answer for you, I reached out to Workforce Solutions of Central Texas. There are currently almost 1,000 auto techs working in our area, but the agency said the demand is growing for more.

I headed out to the City of West to check out the impact on local shops—speaking to Shawn Kaluza, the collision manager at AutoCzech.

"How many cars do ya'll think you get in a week, a month, what does that look like?"

"Our workload is a small shop, we have one body tech, and one painter but we still run at least 15 to 20 a week," Kaluza said.

He told me the demand continues to rise as the number of auto techs drops.

"We used to get say... five, six years ago multiple applications coming in over and over. People that wanted to work and needed a job now it just seems like nobody wants to do any kind of physical labor. The hard part is when they want the money first you're gonna have to earn it first," Kaluza said.