What is your impression of these jobs?
–Air Conditioning Technician
Despite the consummate skill and training that these and similar maintenance professions require today, they often still bear the unfortunate stigma in the public’s eye of being menial “grease monkey” jobs — occupations that (unlike many white collar four-year college professions) require workers to fix things and get their hands dirty.
Therein lies both the challenge and mission of Joel Leonard, a Skill TV producer and host and self-proclaimed maintenance evangelist, as he warns America of the “Maintenance Crisis” that has enveloped the national landscape — a situation that is leaving our industries and workplaces without nearly enough maintenance technicians to replace the Baby Boomer generation workers in such jobs as they retire.
Joel is fervently spreading the word through talks, presentations, websites, articles — even a poignant song he penned — that maintenance technician jobs are not only well-paying and vital to the economy, but in demand in virtually every industry. These positions are also highly technical, requiring workers to be proficient in such science and engineering skills as vibration analysis, infrared thermography, ultrasonic leak detection and other predictive maintenance technologies to make sure that machines operate safely and efficiently.
“In addition,” says Joel, “these technicians must possess extensive communication skills in order to be able to convey complex technical information to other departments and create new maintenance practices to support high technical initiatives in such areas as mechanical and electrical systems, and bio and nano technology.” He adds with a wry smile: “So as you can see, maintenance technicians are no longer just ‘grease monkeys’ performing menial tasks.”
What do you think can be done to attract more students to maintenance fields?
Read more about Joel here.
Watch this UNC-TV interview with Joel about what he is doing to address the maintenance crises.
And here’s Joel on Skill TV interviewing an aviation maintenance executive about the labor shortage & ongoing battle to find skilled technicians.