AirPro Diagnostics: Growing Your Auto Body Shop
Metal tech training program at this multi-shop operation in the Bay Area of California is creating the collision professionals of the future.
Mike’s Auto Body, a multi-shop operation with 15 locations in the Bay Area of California, announced it graduated its second class of auto body technicians on Feb. 27 through its in-house apprentice program at the company’s training facility in Antioch, Calif.
One of the four students who graduated from Mike’s Auto Body’s Metal Tech Training Program, Lorenzo Algood, celebrated with his entire family as he now joins his brother Ronnie, who graduated from the program’s initial class last year. What makes the entire scenario even more special is the fact that one of the training program’s instructors is Ronnie and Lorenzo’s father, Lupe Algood, a veteran technician with more than 25 years of experience in collision repair.
Now that they’ve learned the basics, this year’s four graduates are prepared to start working for Mike’s as full-time employees. They will be assigned to one of Mike’s Auto Body’s locations, where they will be paired up with one of the company’s journeyman technicians. Then, their progress will be closely monitored during their two-year apprenticeship, as they become adept at every aspect of the trade.
In order to complete this training program, students receive classroom instruction along with performing hands-on repairs of metal and plastic, panel removal and vehicle construction on salvaged vehicles at the company’s facility in Antioch. Students are trained in vehicle disassembly, panel repair, plastic welding, frame and instructional analysis, and welded panel removal. In addition, upon graduation, the students will have already achieved I-CAR Training Pro Level 1 and will be fully Car-O-Liner certified.
“We can already see that this program is going to benefit the company in many ways, and we believe that it will just continue to gain momentum,” said David Wedding, a business development manager at Mike’s Auto Body. “Our new group of eight future technicians is already attending classes and will be graduating in June.
“If they apply what we’ve taught them and listen to their mentor during the apprenticeship period, they can be making $75,000 to $100,000 within just a few years. A four-year college education costs around $80,000 to $150,000, and there isn’t a career necessarily awaiting these graduates at the other end of that. With this program, they start working part-time with us as soon as they enroll, so they’re earning from day one.”