Two issues stand out in the news right now: gasoline prices and jobs. This year’s Denver Auto Show, running from Wednesday through Sunday of this week (March 21-25) at the Colorado Convention Center, will focus on both.
The Denver Auto Show dates back 110 years and is the largest exhibit of automotive technology and innovation between the Mississippi River and the West Coast. Only the New York and Chicago auto shows started before Denver’s auto show. The auto show is traditionally the place where car lovers and prospective car buyers come to satisfy their desire for chrome and comfort. With gas prices rising and the economy still sputtering, there will be a big emphasis on fuel-efficiency this year at the show.
This is the first year show-goers will also have the opportunity to meet prospective employers from automotive and automotive-related industries, as well as representatives from educational programs emphasizing the automotive sector. The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association welcomes you to the first-ever Automotive Career Fair, taking place during, and in the same location as the Denver Auto Show.
Why there? Why now? It just makes sense. Colorado’s unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, is lower than the national average, but still pretty high. When car dealers get together, the talk often turns to the challenges they face in finding and retaining qualified employees who are passionate about automobiles and trucks. What better place to match job-seekers and employers than the Automotive Career Fair?
For most people, cars are the largest purchases they’ll ever make besides their homes. The sale and service of motor vehicles provide jobs for almost 30,000 Coloradans. Their incomes have an annual overall economic impact of more than $1.5 billion. When you take into account peripheral businesses such as parts, tires, lube shops and body shops, Colorado’s automotive industry is huge.
There is a wide range of work available in the automotive industry. A typical automobile dealership has jobs that run the gamut from service technicians and mechanics, to sales and marketing, finance, human resources, clerical and management. Salaries can be very good. For instance, top sales representatives and the best technicians often make in the six figures. Most automotive career professionals are in their roles for life. So these are really careers v jobs.
New cars have become extremely complex in the last several years. Now they are really computers on wheels – actually, multiple computers. Computers control automobiles’ mechanics, including the way they use fuel, the way their problems are diagnosed and much of the rest of the way they operate. The way that drivers and passengers interface with cars is also computerized, including cabin temperature, the entertainment system, and information offerings such as navigation and, increasingly the on-board communications system. This has opened many new avenues for people wanting to work in the automotive industry.
Most automotive jobs require at least a high school diploma and, increasingly, some additional education. The Automotive Career Fair will have several representatives from colleges and technical schools that offer specialized automotive programs.
One place where they’ve tried an automotive career fair is in New York City. The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association staged its first Automotive Career Fair in 2001, and over the years it has been a big success. Job seekers, prospective employers and educational institutions come from all over the Northeast, including New England and the Mid-Atlantic states to meet and exchange information and resumes. We think we’ll have a similar success here in Denver.
The Automotive Career Fair at the Denver Auto Show will be located in the Accessories area. Enter through the main doors and you’ll find it in the far right corner of the show. There will be signs to point the way. So, if you love cars and you’re looking for a job or an education leading to an automotive job, the career fair is the place to be next week. Bring your resume and join us!