Admit it, you read that headline and thought to yourself, "Fantastic! The Detroit automakers are finally coming back after three long, tough years." And yes, the fact that GM and Chrysler are each adding 1,000 engineers and technical workersto work on next generation cars and trucks is good news. But, let's keep the euphoria in perspective. Adding these jobs is huge, but it pales compared with the thousands that were cut when the auto sales plummeted.
The fact is, the auto industry is re-making itself.
It is leaner, more efficient and smaller.
And in that transition there is a need for engineers and those with technical knowledge to build more fuel efficient vehicles. It's the requirement for the industry to improve CAFE standards that has executives from Ford, to GM, to Chrysler looking at next generation vehicles. Not just electric cars, but hybrids, plug-ins, fuel cells, and yes even those with with the internal combustion engine fueled by gasoline.
The groundwork for the future of Detroit is being laid right now.
Gone are the days when the focus was on cranking out bigger, badder trucks and SUV's. Efficiency is in. That means a whole new generation of engineers who will need to lead Ford, GM and Chrysler into the brave new world. Ironically, when you talk with folks in Detroit they admit this surge in demand for engineers comes at a time when the pool of available talent is limited. What? After all the cuts in the last three years, how can there be a shortage of automotive engineers?
The problem is many of those cut lack the more advanced knowledge needed for electric cars. Others left after many years in the industry and essentially retired. And yes, there were many caught in the auto meltdown who have no desire to go back to work for an auto company. All of this means its a good time for college grads looking to get into auto engineering.
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