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Utah Valley State College

Striving to meet today’s increased demand for qualified technicians, collision-repair instructors at Utah Valley State College (UVSC) in Orem, Utah, are working to bring together students and the industry.


Students at UVSC have a variety of program options designed to
fit their needs and those of employers. By following the 2+2 program,
students can earn an associate’s degree in collision repair, gain
employment, begin their career in the industry and then continue
working toward a bachelor’s degree in business or technology management.


"We think it’s very important that [the college] has a bachelor’s
degree that provides students with a broader base of opportunity,"
says Wade Klafke, program coordinator. "Students with a bachelor’s
degree will be better on-line technicians and be more likely to
stay in the industry for their entire career."

During the program’s first year, students are sent on five one-week
internships intended to give them experience in the "real

Instructors at UVSC have also developed a scholarship program,
which matches a collision-repair student with a local repair shop.
Sponsoring employers provide tuition assistance and on-the-job
training, and in return, students are responsible for grade and
work requirements set by the employers.


"The purpose of the program is to get the industry involved
in educating workers and to help solve the increased training
and recruitment problems," says collision-repair instructor
Terry Nichols.

Geared toward anyone in the collision-repair industry who has
employees who could benefit from additional training or has a
need for new employees, the program currently has more than 10
sponsoring employers. With more employers interested in the scholarship
program, instructors have been able to guarantee job placement
upon graduation – if not before.

UVSC also offers concurrent enrollment, which allows high school
students the opportunity to attend college before graduation.
More than 50 students from seven high schools are currently enrolled.


Another option for students is the cooperative education program,
in which students gain elective credit for working in their respective

Advanced specialty training for journeymen is also offered. For
this program, instructors evaluate the current needs of the journeymen
in the industry and try to develop specialized courses to update
their skills.

All collision-repair instructors are I-CAR and ASE certified and
teach I-CAR advanced-technology curriculum. Instructors also stress
the importance of both excellent skills and a strong work ethic.
Students are graded on their technical skill, ability to work
as a team, problem solving, attendance, work ethic and employable
skills, and are able to practice and hone their skills by working
on the latest-model vehicles.


Collision-repair students also have the opportunity to work with
state-of-the-art equipment in a 16,200-square-foot classroom shop.
The shop includes an automotive resource and computer lab, two
downdraft/bake booths, a mixing room, a tool room, a collision
lab, a structural lab with a computerized-measuring system and
a computerized shop-management lab.

Though the automotive industry has typically been geared toward
men, more female students are enrolling in the collision-repair
program at UVSC. Many work in the paint areas, and more than 10
percent of the students enrolled in the survey classes are women.


For more information, contact Wade Klafke at Utah Valley State
College, 800 W. 1200 South, Orem, Utah 84058-5999 or call (801)

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