ST. LOUIS – The Collision Engineering Program has received a $700,000 grant from the Educational Credit Management Corporation Foundation to support the growth and expansion of the industry-leading program’s efforts. With foundational support provided by the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the program is designed to attract and develop entry-level talent to fill essential roles within the collision repair industry and enhance retention and advancement among collision repair technicians.
The program is in its second year of a two-year pilot at four schools across the country – College of Lake County; Ranken Technical College in St. Louis; Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California; and Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas.
With nearly 100,000 new entrant collision technicians needed between 2022 and 2025, according to the TechForce Foundation, the Collision Engineering Program addresses the ongoing industry technician shortage and skills gap. Collision repair businesses are facing unprecedented challenges in growing and sustaining their workforce as baby boomers retire and demand outpaces a declining supply of postsecondary collision technician entrants. At the same time, automotive technology is rapidly changing, requiring skill sets to evolve for those who repair vehicles.
The program replicates Ranken Technical College’s unique two-year apprenticeship model at schools across the U.S., preparing students for success by treating them as professionals from day one. Students gain real-world education working alongside industry experts while also earning their associate degree.
The grant from the ECMC Foundation will support phase two of the Collision Engineering Program. Phase one focused on piloting the program at four schools across the country. Phase two will build upon the efforts of the pilot program, establishing at least four additional partner colleges over the next three years. ECMC Foundation’s contribution will provide startup costs to launch the program at partner colleges, enable the program to hire additional staff and provide continued support for existing partner colleges.
Since the pilot launched last year, the Collision Engineering Program has received contributions from Chief Collision Technology and Mitchell International.
Chief Collision Technology, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high-quality collision repair products and services, provided a Multimig Aluminum Welder – valued at $12,000 – to the College of Lake County. The machine, used widely across the repair industry, provides students with in-depth knowledge and experience working with real-world equipment.
Mitchell International, an Enlyte company and leading technology and information provider for the claims and collision repair industries, is offering its full suite of repair solutions to each of the four participating schools. The in-kind donation – valued at $150,000 – includes Mitchell Cloud Estimating with Integrated Repair Procedures, Mitchell TechAdvisor and its OEM-licensed repair data and the Mitchell Diagnostics platform for scanning and calibration. These solutions are designed to help technicians efficiently diagnose, estimate and repair collision-damaged vehicles, improving customer and carrier satisfaction.
With Mitchell’s innovative technology and the Collision Engineering Program’s advanced education, graduates entering the workforce are well-equipped to properly and safely repair today’s complex automobiles.
Source: The Daily Chronicle