Collision Schools Receive $436,000 in CREF Benchmark Grants
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Collision Schools Receive $436,000 in CREF Benchmark Grants

The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) announced that, thanks to the generosity of multiple industry partners both small and large, 69 collision schools will receive $436,000 in CREF Benchmark Grant funding to financially support their efforts to educate the collision industry’s future workforce and make a difference in the lives of the students training in those programs.

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“Congratulations to the CREF Benchmark grant recipient schools, and thank you to our industry partners for their continued support,” said Brandon Eckenrode, managing director of CREF. “I would also like to specifically recognize the instructors who applied for the grants as it shows their commitment to bettering their collision programs, which in turn allows them to provide a quality technical education for their students and prepare them for industry entry-level employment. These grants will help instructors with their limited program budgets, and CREF is in a unique role of directing industry support to collision programs in need.” 

As part of its ongoing efforts to build a better tomorrow for the collision repair industry by supporting collision schools and students, CREF is proud to announce that four programs will receive substantial financial assistance in the form of the foundation’s 2022 Benchmark Grants. Each school was selected for its efforts in a unique category respective to the program.

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Employment Category

In the employment category, a $25,000 grant was awarded to Warren Tech (Lakewood, Colo.) to support the school’s efforts to bridge the gap between education and employment. The wildcard grant for $25,000 was bestowed upon Chippewa Valley Technical College (Eau Claire, Wis.) for its innovative approach to collision education. A $10,000 grant was awarded to Lockhart High School (Lockhart, Texas) to fund the tools and equipment needed to help the school reach the next tier, and a $2,000 grant was given to Kootenai Technical Education Campus (Rathdrum, Idaho) to aid with maintaining the program.

Caliber Collision

Continuing its support of collision repair schools and students, Caliber Collision donated $15,000 in grant funds to CREF, divided between three schools to help enhance their students’ educational experience and elevate the caliber of their graduates. Caliber Collision’s $5,000 grants were awarded to:

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  • Rosedale Technical College (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Tidewater Community College (Chesapeake, Va.)
  • Freedom High School (Freedom, Wis.)

CCC Intelligent Solutions

CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc. (CCC) and CREF announced that three collision repair school programs will receive Classroom Enhancement Grants, totaling $15,000. The educational facilities will utilize these funds to purchase resources that will enhance their collision repair training programs and equip students with the tools they need for a successful career in collision repair.

The recipient of CCC’s $8,000 Classroom Enhancement Grant is RCTC Ypsilanti Community Schools (Ypsilanti, Mich.). Coastal Carolina Community College (Jacksonville, N.C.) will receive a $3,000 Classroom Enhancement Grant, and a $4,000 grant will be bestowed upon West Sound Technical Skills Center (Bremerton, Wash.).

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Driven Brands Collision

Driven Brands Collision again partnered with CREF to support four collision repair education programs in secondary and post-secondary schools by funding $5,000 Benchmark Grants to help enhance students’ experience and elevate the caliber of graduates entering the field. These grants will benefit educational facilities located in CARSTAR, ABRA and Fix Auto USA markets.

Driven Brands Collision Group awarded $5,000 Driven Collision Grants to:

  • North Idaho College (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho)
  • Lex La-Ray Technical Center (Lexington, Mo.)
  • Greenville Technical Center (Greenville, S.C.)
  • Pulaski High School (Milwaukee, Wis.)

GM

Thanks to funding from General Motors (GM), CREF’s Support and Connect Project hopes to further support collision students and schools by building on its Benchmark Grant program, and in 2022, this initiative benefitted four schools by providing $5,000 grants from GM to:

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  • Aims Community College (Windsor, Colo.)
  • Wilkes Community College (Wilkesboro, N.C.)
  • Hamilton Fulton Montgomery Career and Technical Center (Johnstown, N.Y.)
  • Judson High School (Converse, Texas)

Erie Insurance

Erie Insurance supported CREF and the collision industry’s future by awarding a $5,000 grant to GST BOCES Coopers Education Center (Painted Post, N.Y.).

Farmers Insurance

Continuing its collaboration with CREF, Farmers Insurance sponsored a $5,000 Benchmark Grant in support of collision repair education at Kingwood Park High School (Kingwood, Texas) to enhance their educational offerings and help ensure that the students graduating from their programs are prepared to enter a career in the collision repair industry.

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GEICO

Continuing its support of the collision industry in 2022, GEICO sponsored three Benchmark Grants through CREF, awarding $5,000 to each school in an effort to help underfunded collision education programs elevate the caliber of training offered to ensure graduates are prepared to successfully begin their careers in the industry. The schools that will benefit from GEICO’s generosity include:

  • Career Center of Southern Illinois (Red Bud, Ill.)
  • Area30 Career Center (Greencastle, Ind.)
  • SUNY Morrisville (Morrisville, N.Y.)

Hertz

In addition to supporting CREF and collision schools and students in myriad other ways, Hertz funded seven 2022 Benchmark Grants, supporting schools around the country. Four schools will each receive $5,000 grants:

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  • Northeast Arkansas Career & Technical Center (Jonesboro, Ark.)
  • Forbes Road Career & Technology Center (Monroeville, Pa.)
  • Des Moines Area Community College (Ankeny, Iowa)
  • Dennis Technical Education Center (Boise, Idaho)

Three additional schools will receive $10,000 each in grants from Hertz:

  • Etowah County Career Technical Center (Attalla, Ala.)
  • Stanly Community College (Albemarle, N.C.)
  • Contra Costa College (San Pablo, Calif.)

JW Bagley Foundation

Thanks to the generosity of non-industry entity, JW Bagley Foundation, the following two schools will each receive a $5,000 Benchmark Grant to assist with maintaining their programs:

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  • Thornton Fractional High School Center for Academics and Technology (Calumet City, Ill.)
  • Minnesota State College Southeast (Winona, Minn.)

LKQ Corporation

LKQ Corporation continued its support of the Collision Repair Education Foundation by donating $30,000 to fund Benchmark Grants for five schools, which will be used to enhance their collision repair education programs and provide the resources necessary to ensure students are receiving the education they — and the industry — deserve.

Rolla Technical Institute (Rolla, Mo.) will benefit from a $10,000 Benchmark Grant. Additionally, four schools will receive $5,000 each, funded by LKQ:

  • Baton Rouge Community College (Baton Rouge, La.)
  • Southeast Community College (Milford, New England)
  • South Plains College (Levelland, Texas)
  • Dowell J. Howard Center (Winchester, Va.)

Nationwide Insurance

Once again, Nationwide Insurance partnered with CREF to support collision schools and students by funding $5,000 Benchmark Grants for two Ohio schools in an effort to help collision education programs elevate the caliber of training offered to ensure graduates are prepared to successfully begin their careers in the industry.

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Nationwide awarded $5,000 Benchmark Grants to:

  • EHOVE Career Center (Milan, Ohio)
  • Waite High School (Toledo, Ohio)

OEM Collision Repair Roundtable

The OEM Collision Repair Roundtable’s donation created two grants, awarded to:

  • Southeastern Community College (West Burlington, Iowa)
  • New York Automotive & Diesel Institute (Jamaica, N.Y.)

Stellantis

Stellantis also continued its support of CREF and collision schools by sponsoring a $5,000 Benchmark Grant for new program additions that will benefit W. D. Ormsby Educational Center (East Aurora, N.Y.).

CREF is also excited to announce that 27 secondary and post-secondary schools in the U.S. will benefit from Benchmark grants funded through the efforts of 10 devoted I-CAR committees. Various fundraising methods were employed, generating $163,000 in funds that will aid the industry’s future generation in becoming prepared for a career in collision repair. The 10 I-CAR Committees and the grants they bestowed include:

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Atlanta I-CAR Committee

  • Athens Technical College (Athens, Ga.): $10,000
  • Etowah High School (Woodstock, Ga.): $15,000
  • Maxwell High School of Technology (Lawrenceville, Ga.): $5,000
  • North Georgia Technical College (Clarkesville, Ga.): $10,000
  • Paulding County High School (Dallas, Ga.): $15,000

Broward County I-CAR Committee

  • Atlantic Technical College (Coconut Creek, Fla.): $5,000
  • McFatter Technical College (Davie, Fla.): $5,000
  • Sheridan Technical College (Hollywood, Fla.): $5,000

Columbus Collision Education Group

  • Miami Valley Career and Technology Center (Englewood, Ohio): $2,500

Greater Philadelphia I-CAR Committee

  • Berks Career & Technology Center (Oley, Pa.): $3,000
  • Central Montco Technical High School (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.): $4,000
  • Lebanon County Career & Technology Center (Lebanon, Pa.): $1,500
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport, Pa.): $4,000

Indianapolis I-CAR Committee

  • Central Nine Career Center (Greenwood, Ind.): $5,000
  • Walker Career Center (Indianapolis, Ind.): $5,000

Knoxville I-CAR Committee

  • TCAT (Knoxville, Tenn.): $5,000
  • TCAT (Morristown, Tenn.): $5,000
  • Greene Technical Center (Greeneville, Tenn.): $2,500

Nashville I-CAR Committee

  • Lincoln College of Technology (Nashville, Tenn.): $5,000
  • Northwest High School (Clarksville, Tenn.): $13,000

Palm Beach I-CAR Committee

  • South Tech Academy (Boynton Beach, Fla.): $5,000

Phoenix I-CAR Committee

  • East Valley Institute of Technology (Mesa, Ariz.): $10,000
  • Gateway Community College Central City Campus (Phoenix, Ariz.): $10,000
  • West-MEC (Phoenix, Ariz.): $5,000

St. Louis I-CAR Committee

  • Lewis and Clark Career Center (St. Charles, Mo.): $2,500
  • North Technical High School (Florissant, Mo.): $2,500
  • South Technical High School (Sunset Hills, Mo.): $2,500

Eligibility for these awards was achieved by applying for CREF’s 2022 Collision School Career Readiness Benchmark GrantThe Collision School Career Readiness Benchmark Grants recognize schools that excel at educating students in collision repair, but due to strained school budgets, the programs require additional financial assistance. Recipient schools use these funds to provide the tools, equipment and supplies necessary to enhance their students’ learning experience and elevate the caliber of their graduates, ensuring that graduates are prepared to successfully enter the workforce upon graduation. Applications for the 2023 Collision School Career Readiness Benchmark Grants will be available online in Spring 2023.

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Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting CREF’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs should click here to learn about the many ways to get involved. Monetary donations can be made online.

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