TBB Time Travelers: October 2003 - They don't train 'em like they used to

“Well-trained personnel are vital—and increasingly hard to find.”

This is a sentiment echoed across today’s trailer and truck body industry—from manufacturers to suppliers, dealers and distributors.

Manufacturing jobs aren’t “sexy,” mom and dad are sending their kids—and their money—to college to become lawyers and doctors, not welders, machine operators, technicians and the like, and, consequently, skilled laborers are becoming a commodity, especially as unemployment rates hit historic lows.

Only, this sentiment wasn’t uttered by a manufacturer or dealer at a recent association meeting, it was written by then-Trailer/Body Builders editor Bruce Sauer in his monthly editorial—in October 2003.

Back then, the industry’s concern was fueled by a growing reliance on computers, in the workplace and in the classroom, where some observers believed the ever-increasing emphasis on computer literacy was pulling time and resources away from other areas, like vocational education.

“We get kids who don’t know the difference between a screwdriver and a ball peen hammer,” James Dahlman, then chairman of the last public-school vocational department in San Francisco, reportedly told award-winning author Todd Oppenheimer in 1997.

Wait, what’s a ball peen hammer?

Anyway, fast forward 15 years, and computers are not going away.

In fact, with the exponential growth of technology today, and rapid rise of new truck and trailer tech like telematics and advanced driver assistance systems, computer literacy is more important than ever.

And so is staying up to date on current—and past—events in Trailer/Body Builders magazine, to better understand how they’ll impact our future.

So, climb into the Trailer/Body Builders Time Machine and travel with us to October 2003 with a photo gallery gleaned straight from the time-worn pages of the only magazine published specifically for those who produce and sell commercial truck bodies, trailers and truck equipment.

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