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The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) has announced the creation of their new “Part of the Solution” initiative which provides dealers and dealer groups with an opportunity to support future technicians by donating leftover parts that would otherwise be discarded, allowing students to train on current-model vehicles.
“Our philosophy is a higher quality program will attract a higher quality student which will make for a higher quality industry employee,” said Christen Battaglia, director of strategic partnerships for CREF. “When the technicians entering the industry are well-trained on current vehicles, using modern equipment and tools, the entire automotive industry benefits.”
Parts are the most frequent need reported by schools with collision repair education programs, including fenders, hoods, bumper covers and a variety of other parts. Without access to these parts, many students are learning on vehicles and parts that are at least a decade old, but with the frequent advances in technology, this leaves student unequipped for a successful career after graduation.
Recognizing that most dealers trash thousands of dollars’ worth of parts monthly, CREF developed the “Part of the Solution” initiative in order to connect local schools with these dealers and dealer groups. CREF has compiled a list of over 500 schools across the U. S. in need of scrap parts that can be donated at little to no cost to the donor facility.
“Hendrick Automotive Group is excited to partner with CREF’s initiative to provide students with current vehicle parts to practice OE repair procedures on that will better prepare them for today’s collision repair environment,” said Roger Mesiemore, corporate director of collision and service operations for Hendrick Automotive Group, which has already signed on to support the future generation of technicians by participating in “Part of the Solution.”
Dealers and dealer groups can also support future technicians by donating professional uniforms through CREF’s Student Technician Shirt Project. Supporters purchase professional Cintas technician shirts for their local collision education programs, receiving a logo patch on the shirt in recognition of their dedication to the industry.
“Receiving professional uniforms fills students with a sense of pride and teaches them what it means to look professional in the workplace,” said Battaglia. “It instills confidence in them, reminds them that plenty of us believe in them, and reaffirms that they will have support as they pursue their education and enter the automotive industry as well-trained professionals.”
Industry members interested in supporting CREF’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs should contact Christen Battaglia at (302) 377-5202 or [email protected].