MNCARS: On a Roll

Minnesota Careers in Auto Repair and Service (MNCARS) is a non-profit organization established in 2016 by the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota (AASP-MN). Its sole purpose is to promote careers in the automotive industry, recruit young people into the state’s college-level automotive service and collision repair programs and, ultimately, into industry workplaces. Now 18 months into the initiative, MNCARS is pleased to report progress on a number of fronts…

• Developed website, social media presence, marketing materials, counselors kit and other collateral to educate target audiences (“tinkerers”, school counselors and parents) about the career opportunities in today’s automotive service and collision repair industry
• Established an industry speaker’s bureau and recruited “student ambassadors” to promote careers in the auto service and collision industry
• Presented to middle school and high school automotive students and participated in career and college fairs throughout the state
• Activated social media campaign to drive traffic to carcareers.org
• Sponsored St. Cloud Times SPARK feature on transportation careers and event at St. Cloud CTC
• Distributed introductory materials and career promotion posters to school counselors
• Organized World of Wheels Student Day
• Attended MN School Counselors Association conference (2015 – 2017)
• Exhibited at Back to the 50s (2016 & 2017)

Since January, 2017, the MNCARS message has reached:

• Over 8,400 middle and high school students
• 750+ average monthly visitors to www.carcareers.org
• 3,000 MNCARS video viewers
• Over 53,000 Facebookers
• Over 52,000 Snapchatters
• 465 Instagrammers
• Over 1,000 school counselors
• Over 150,000 Central MN residents

Dan Sjolseth, owner of Superior Service Centers in Eagan and Apple Valley, and chairman of MNCARS, states, “Those of us who have been involved in this effort from the beginning feel like we’re really starting to gain some momentum. Counselors, educators and parents appear to be much more receptive to the idea that a 4-year college degree is not for everyone and that the skilled trades – especially automotive – have a lot to offer: rewarding and varied career paths with high earnings potential in a high-tech, high-demand industry.”

Looking ahead, plans are underway to:

• Activate the grassroots army of AASP-MN members at the local level to spread the MNCARS message far and wide
• Partner with the MN Transportation Center of Excellence to deploy a career exploration trailer at local events to build interest and provide hands-on experiences related to automotive careers
• Continue presentations to high school automotive students and participation in career and college fairs throughout the state
• Continue social media engagement to drive traffic to carcareers.org
• Begin fundraising necessary to sustain the campaign into the future

Sjolseth added, “It’s going to take the work of the entire industry to keep driving our message home and make a bigger impact. The future of each and every automotive business depends on the availability of skilled technicians and other qualified employees. We encourage all members of the industry to put the resources developed by MNCARS to use in their own backyard to advocate and educate target audiences about the bright outlook for automotive service and collision repair careers and jobs in our state.”

The MNCARS initiative is made possible by the generous contributions of industry organizations and companies. Check out www.carcareers.org and visit the About Us page to see a list of sponsors and supporters. Those who are interested in contributing by volunteering their time or financial support should contact the AASP-MN office at 612-623-1110 or judell@aaspmn.org.

Written by Judell Anderson

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