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The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) announced that Audatex, CCC Intelligent Solutions and Mitchell donated software subscriptions valued at nearly $10 million to over 500 schools’ collision repair educational programs across the U.S. Now, future collision repair technicians can learn on the same software widely used by the collision repair facilities and insurance carriers where they will soon seek employment — at no cost to the school or students.
“CREF is grateful to Audatex, CCC and Mitchell for their generous, ongoing support of the collision industry’s education system and providing this invaluable opportunity for the next generation of technicians, estimators and suppliers,” said Melissa Marscin, director of operations and impact for CREF. “Due to very limited funding, collision schools cannot always afford to purchase the latest programs and technologies for students to learn on. Thanks to Audatex, CCC and Mitchell, these schools are able to teach their students on the same program that they’re likely to encounter after graduation, ultimately making them better entry-level employees since students who have access to the most recent technology during their education are more likely to be successful when they begin their career in the industry.”
Added CREF Managing Director Brandon Eckenrode, “The foundation thanks Audatex for the continued support of the industry’s pre-employment education system. The ability to learn on current technology as a student has been proven to drive career success when these young people join the workforce.”
Audatex’s software donations are part of the company’s collaboration with CREF on the Audatex Educational Institutions Program, which also provides eligible schools with access to online courses and training, a custom curriculum that includes CEUs, I-CAR points and technical support. This partnership has provided Audatex estimating software to nearly 300 schools’ collision repair programs in 41 states, a number that increases each year. To qualify for the Audatex Educational Institutions Program, technical schools in the U.S. and Canada offering a collision repair program must complete the Educational Institutions Program contact form found at Audatex.us.
“Access to the technologies and tools collision repair professionals rely on every day is essential for students to hone their craft and be productive immediately upon entering the workforce,” said Andreas Hecht, senior vice president, OEM services group, CCC. “CCC is proud to build upon our decades of support, equipping tomorrow’s estimators and technicians with the technology they need to be successful and have a positive impact on the industry.”
CCC, a founding member of CREF, has helped tens of thousands of students from more than 500 schools through its donation of software, onsite and virtual training, and world-class technical support services — delivered at no cost to the students or schools. The CCC ONE Estimating software package donated by CCC includes digital imaging capabilities, access to tire and recall databases, paintless dent repair guidelines and frame specifications, along with other products and multi-user access. It also grants access to CCC Repair Methods and CCC ONE Touch, CCC’s mobile estimating solution that allows estimates to be written right at the car.
“We are proud to support CREF and its mission to meet the industry’s growing need for qualified, entry-level collision repairers,” said Debbie Day, executive vice president and general manager of Mitchell’s Auto Physical Damage division. “Mitchell is absolutely committed to delivering innovative technology solutions that can be used by collision repairers already in the field as well as those soon joining the workforce.”
Mitchell’s contribution to CREF includes free access to Mitchell Cloud Estimating with Integrated Repair Procedures for students enrolled in participating schools. The advanced estimating software works seamlessly with Mitchell’s cloud-based product suite — giving future collision repairers essential training on technologies designed to efficiently manage workflows and support the delivery of proper, safe repairs. Using Mitchell solutions, students also learn the importance of OEM repair procedures as they diagnose collision damage and develop repair plans for today’s most complex vehicles.
Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting CREF’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs should contact Brandon Eckenrode at (312) 231-0258 or [email protected]. Monetary donations can be made online.