Ford recently announced that the company is earning positive responses to its SOS – a Sponsor Our Students program that works with dealers to provide opportunities for students who want to start meaningful careers as automotive technicians.


Ford’s SOS program can start as early as high school and is about more than just skill acquisition – it’s also an opportunity to make connections. Ford and Lincoln dealers dedicated to sponsoring students will have the chance to offer them a unique opportunity for work-based education within their service department, including the support of mentorship.


Over 1,000 Ford and Lincoln dealers have enrolled since the program launched in April and have committed to sponsoring more than 3,600 students. Ford’s bigger goal is to see no fewer than 5,000 students get this great work-based experience before the end of 2022.

“Recruiting and retaining quality auto technicians is increasingly becoming one of the biggest challenges facing the retail automotive industry today and why building the dealer technician pipeline is so important, says Frederiek Toney, vice president, Ford Customer Service Division.


Ford anticipates that a large number of students sponsored through SOS will be participants in Ford’s Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) program, which is currently offered at 1,100+ high schools and post-secondary schools across the United States. Students at these schools have access to much of the same advanced training courses that are used to train Ford dealership technicians, further enhancing their learning experience at the dealership.


Students who get to work for their sponsoring Ford or Lincoln dealer will also get the chance to utilize accelerated training as part of Ford’s larger service program. For many, this program can better streamline the path to growing into a highly trained automotive technician. What’s more, sponsored students that get hired  will be given a 20% discount in the Rotunda Technician Tool Program, making it even easier to get into the trade.


“Our goal is to build senior master technicians from the ground up and we are doing this for the customer. In the past, we had specialized technicians who waited till another tech finished their work before they could run diagnostics on another issue. Here, master technicians can cover bumper to bumper and clear a ticket to get the customer out the door quicker. This increases our efficiency as a shop,” says Zach Brandt, general manager at Capital Ford in Sante Fe, New Mexico.


The enrollment details for dealers includes a playbook for retailers that will describe the best methods that attract, train, and retain students as Ford technicians. Dealers also get more support from the OEM field teams throughout their enrollment. Currently, the Sponsor Our Students program is offered in the U.S. but expect to see rapid expansion soon. 


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