By Michael Hart
Engineering students attended a Career Day at the SEMA Garage in February.
A recent SEMA Industry Employment Perspective Study found that 95% of companies in the automotive aftermarket industry will need to hire new employees with specific skills in the next five years. The No. 1 problem, according to the study, is that companies don’t know where to look for the highly skilled employees they will need in the future.
SEMA is here to help.
This year, in support of SEMA’s Career Paths initiative, the SEMA Show will launch its first-ever Student Career Day. On Monday, October 31, from 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m., SEMA Show exhibitors will have the chance to meet with about 600 high school and college students who will attend the Show and introduce them to their companies and the career opportunities available to them.
While not technically a job fair (although students may come with their résumés in hand), it is an opportunity to pique the interest of bright, talented young people and for exhibitors to begin relationships that may lead students to begin their careers in the aftermarket industry with their companies.
“We’re always looking for new talent,” said Albert Lucero, talent acquisition manager for Transamerican Auto Parts. “It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up, if we can put our footprint out there with the youth and let them know what we’re all about.”
The event’s goal is to introduce high school and college students to the diversity of careers available to them in the aftermarket industry. SEMA Show exhibitors can still sign up to participate.
“Maybe there’s an accounting major out there who has a passion for cars,” said Chris Douglas, vice president of marketing for the COMP Performance Group and a SEMA Board member. “We might be able to show them that there’s a pathway for them in this industry.”
Or, Douglas added, maybe it’s a marketing major or somebody involved in the IT and web-related fields.
“We’re all companies that sell products,” he said, “but they’re run by people with talent. Without the talent, your company will eventually stall out and be bypassed by the companies that do have the talent.”
Each participating exhibitor will be assigned a table with their company name, logo, industry segment and primary business function. They will be asked to have company representatives staff the table, interact with the student attendees and tell them about what they do and what kinds of careers could be available to them.
For more information or to register to participate, contact SEMA’s Senior Director of Education Zane Clark at ZaneC@sema.org.