3M and the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) announced the establishment of the 3M and CREF Grant – Growing the Collision Education Programs of Tomorrow. The new grant program, funded by 3M, will provide two collision schools in markets where 3M has facilities with $10,000 each to support the advancement of their programs. The local 3M community will also work to help the schools that receive the grant.
The two schools that will receive the grant are Greenville Technical College, a CREF Benchmark Tier 1 school in Greenville, S.C., and South Central College, a CREF Benchmark Tier 2 school in North Mankato, Minn.
The grant funds will be used to pay for tools and equipment to enhance the training opportunities they provide to the next generation of collision industry professionals studying in the schools. The grant will enable South Central College to achieve the CREF Benchmark Tier 1 status.
“We are excited about this opportunity to continue our support of CREF and the communities in which 3M has a large presence,” said Kelly Lunder, U.S. Channel marketing manager for the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “We are committed to career and technical education and advancement for the men and women enrolled in these programs.”
Added Melissa Marscin, director of operations and administration for CREF, “The grants available to these two schools will provide funds needed to help these colleges advance their collision programs to meet the needs of the collision industry’s future workforce. I want to thank 3M for working with the foundation to enhance these programs as they prepare students to enter the industry with the training necessary to succeed.”
CREF’s Collision School Career Readiness Benchmark was launched in 2017. Under the program developed by CREF, schools are classified into three tiers: Tier 1: Advanced, Tier 2: Proficient or Tier 3: Developing.
The designation is determined by CREF based upon information provided by schools about the capabilities of their program detailed in the CREF Benchmark grant application. The criteria for each level includes the number of hours of instruction and curriculum in place, along with what tools, equipment and supplies a school uses to prepare their students for employment in the collision industry.
If there is something that a school needs to advance to the next level, CREF’s grant programs allow schools to request that particular item. The goal is to help every school acquire the resources to eventually achieve a Tier 1: Advanced school designation. Schools already at Tier 1 status, such as Greenville Technical College, can request support for items that further advance and expand their program.
Industry members interested in joining CREF’s supporters and assisting high school and post-secondary collision school programs should contact Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode at (312) 231-0258 or [email protected].