The Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) has presented a $10,000 donation to the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS). The donation will help modernize CTECS’s automotive collision repair and refinishing program, which is offered at eight technical high schools in Connecticut.
CTECS leadership and students were joined by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Milford Mayor Ben Blake, Connecticut State Senator James Maroney and State Representative Kim Rose to celebrate the donation at Platt Technical High School in Milford.
“Our organization is dedicated to improving the auto repair industry in Connecticut,” said Bob Amendola, president of ABAC. “Staying abreast of emerging technologies and keeping our customers happy depends on a highly skilled workforce, which the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System provides. ABAC is proud to support CTECS and the great work they do in training the repair technicians of tomorrow.”
Added Jeff Wihbey, superintendent of CTECS, “The Connecticut Technical Education and Career System is grateful for our partnership with the Auto Body Association of Connecticut. The industry expertise they offer is invaluable to our staff. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with ABAC and strengthening our collision repair program together.”
ABAC provides support to CTECS by working with collision repair instructors on the program’s curriculum, hosting department heads and teachers at ABAC membership meetings, and attending school career nights to provide students and parents with insight on industry opportunities.
Friday’s donation marks the second of its kind from ABAC. In 2016, the association matched $1,000 donations from Kemperle Auto Body Paint & Equipment, Auto Body Supplies & Paint, Paint World, Paul Francis & Co. and West Springfield Auto Parts Plus. Each company once again agreed to participate in this year’s donation.
“ABAC thanks our suppliers for their generous donations and their continued support of our local schools and future auto technicians of Connecticut,” said Amendola.
The auto repair industry in Connecticut is facing workforce challenges with auto body shops seeking qualified technicians familiar with the evolving technology, construction and safety features of modern vehicles. Post-secondary school enrollment is vital to filling these positions, which offer competitive wages, benefits and job security.
Pete Standish, a former CTECS student and current repair technician in Wallingford, was also in attendance at Friday’s event. Standish began working at A&R Auto Body in 2013 when he was a junior at Wilcox Technical High School.
“I was always interested in a career in the auto industry,” said Standish. “My training and hands-on experience was key to turning that interest into a reality. Since my graduation at Wilcox Tech, I continued to hone my skills and have become a structural technician. There are real growth opportunities with shops across Connecticut looking for skilled, passionate technicians. I would encourage any student with an interest in an auto repair career to learn more about the program.”
For more information about the ABAC, visit abaconn.com.