Personnel from both 3M and CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts were present at the Feb. 4 launch of the new two-year collision repair program at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC), which is being called an innovative model of what the future of collision repair education could and should be given that it will prepare auto body students using modern vehicles and tooling.
Both 3M and CARSTAR have joined with other industry entities in putting their financial support behind the program and had representatives present at the official launch.
“The 3M Automotive Aftermarket is proud to support the Fayetteville Technical Community College collision repair program,” said Ted Guck, U.S. marketing manager – Masking, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “As a longtime supporter of the Collision Repair Education Foundation, 3M recognizes the value of education and training and the need to improve the shop readiness of technicians as they enter the workforce. FTCC has established an impressive facility and curriculum, and we look forward to seeing their graduates secure positions at all levels and disciplines in our industry.
“It is ultimately about preparing students to get jobs in collision repair shops and be ready to contribute to increasing the shop productivity on day one. This starts with students being equipped to repair today’s vehicles and their continual advances in automotive technology. Training is more important than ever to return today’s vehicles to pre-accident condition.
“3M started the Hire our Heroes program in 2013 with the vision of providing training and support for our returning veterans and their families to help them to pursue rewarding careers in the collision repair industry. The fact that Fayetteville Technical Community College created this program near Fort Bragg with 60 percent of their students in this program having current or prior military service is a testament to the support of our nation’s veterans.”
Added Dan Young, senior vice president– insurance for CARSTAR, “I thought it was a really neat event. They involved veterans, students and all the layers of the industry from insurers to paint and technology companies. Even the governor of North Carolina was there along with local government officials.
“[CARSTAR] has 430 locations in North America and employs more repair professionals than any other MSO, and it’s important that you have the techs in place to work on these cars coming down the road. And what I saw at FTCC was these kids getting the opportunity to go to school and learn with the latest and greatest technology so they’re ready to go and contribute to the collision repair industry.
“We’re financially behind them in that we’ve donated money to them and are getting ready to donate even more money, and that’s because you need to be invested in this kind of business to hire people in this industry. We are challenged in finding qualified techs, and [FTCC] may be a model where people who need qualified techs can help them get access to a state-of-the-art education.”