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Laid off from a dead-end job building silos, Roman Weninger went to work as an auto detailer. Thirty-two years later, after he’d moved up through the ranks to become president of 5 CORNERS Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Cedarburg, he suggested to his fellow Auto Dealer Association of Mega-Milwaukee board members that they should do more to let people know about auto industry careers.
Toward that end, ADAMM has added a Careers section to its website where dealerships post listings for jobs in car maintenance, body work and repair, sales, financing, accounting, customer service — you name it.
“Dealerships offer excellent opportunities,” Weninger said. “For some jobs, like technician, you may need a year or two of technical school training, but for others, like sales, lots of stores use manufacturer’s training programs.”
Weninger noted that ADAMM’s 100-plus member dealerships employ more than 6,000 people in southeastern Wisconsin. “There’s turnover,” he said. “People retire or switch careers, or move into new positions within the dealership and have to be replaced.”
In his own experience, when he moved from detailing to sales, Weninger said, seasoned sales people took him under their wing.
ADAMM has long sponsored training programs in sales and worked with area high schools and technical colleges to shape courses and curricula that provide hands-on experience for budding repair techs, so adding job listings to www.ADAMM.com was a natural, said Steve Herro, ADAMM vice president and education director.
Dealers upload and maintain their own listings, which are searchable by job type (full-time, part-time, internship, temporary), category (administration, management, sales, service) and date posted.
Specific jobs are listed under the category headings. For example, sales person, business development rep, lot attendant, finance director, F & I (finance and insurance) manager and internet sale specialist positions are found under “Sales.” Under “Service” you’ll find 12 positions, including technician, service writer, warranty clerk, collision estimator—and even Weninger’s old job of detailer.
ADAMM’s home page serves as the portal; an orange box on the home page leads to the listings at www.goodjobmilwaukee.com.
Each individual listing is a clickable link to information about the position. One listing for a heavy duty technician, for example, called for five or more years of experience, specifying that experience working on General Motors vehicles was preferred. The posting also said applicants “must have own tools and a clean valid WI driver’s license.”
It also said a signing bonus “based on level of experience” was being offered, and provided information about benefits, including health and dental insurance, vacations and retirement plans, and noted that training would be available.
Herro said people who are interested in jobs found on the board will contact dealerships directly and be able to upload their resumés.
Becky Alsup, associate dean of the Milwaukee Area Technical College’s School of Technology & Applied Sciences, said that reports from the federal Bureau Labor of Statistics indicate the demand for auto maintenance jobs is strong in southeastern Wisconsin, and dealers often contact the school to say they’re hiring and looking for qualified people.
Another related website says that the career outlook is also bright for people in sales. Furthermore, while sales can be a rewarding career, the site says, those who “master the art of selling automobiles can find career paths leading to management positions” or, as in Weninger’s case, becoming a dealership owner.
Herro said dealerships are always in the market for new staff with a wide range of education, interests and experience. There are a lot more types of positions than you think. The thought that “you either sell cars or you fix ’em”, just isn’t the case. But while some jobs require a CPA, kids also are hired to move cars around on the lot, and for that you only need to be 16 and have a driver’s license.”