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Lithia Motors Acquires Top Buick GMC Dealerships in Memphis
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Regional News

Keep up with the latest collision repair industry news in your area.

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Technician Shortage

  • 2023 Techs Rock Awards Announces Category Winners, Opens Voting for Grand Prize

    2023 Techs Rock Awards Announces Category Winners, Opens Voting for Grand Prize

    PublishedJune 12, 2023

    TechForce Foundation® announced the category winners in the 2023 Techs Rock Awards and opened the grand prize public vote. TechForce created these prestigious awards to honor professional technicians who are full of passion and grit, exhibit true excellence in their work and inspire the next generation of techs. Meet the category winners and vote for the grand prize winner at TechForce.org/Vote. Voting is open through 11:59 p.m. PT June 16.

    The five category winners were selected from hundreds of nominated technicians by expert celebrity judges including Bogi Lateiner, Bogi’s Garage; Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing; Emily Reeves, Flying Sparks Garage; Pete Meier, Dorman Products; and Camrie Caruso, Camrie Caruso Motorsports.

    More than $18,500 in prizes will be awarded to this year’s honorees. Each of the five category winners received prizes valued at more than $1,900 from TechForce partners Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Cengage Learning, CRC Industries, Ford Motor Company, Nissan, Snap-on Industrial and WD-40 Company.

    In addition to their category winner prizes, the grand prize winner, chosen by popular vote, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to STX 2024 in Nashville, TN, valued at $3,000, courtesy of Advance Auto Parts; and additional prizes valued at $6,000 from AutoZone, CRC Industries, Ford Motor Company, Nissan, Snap-on Industrial and WD-40 Company.

    Each category winner represents a distinct category. These winners are:

    • Barrier Buster: Riley Schlick-Trask, Riley's Rebuilds. The Barrier Buster category recognizes technicians for showing heart and passion in overcoming obstacles to succeed.
    • Die Hard: Bryan Kuehni, Advantage Chevrolet Bolingbrook. The Die Hard category recognizes industry superfans who live, breathe, sleep and thrive in their career.
    • Outstanding Mentor: James Jacobsen, Lake Motor Company. The Outstanding Mentor category recognizes technicians for providing support and guidance to the industry's future techs.
    • Pay it Forward: Bradley Hindman, Mission Auto Repair. The Pay it Forward category recognizes technicians for being a community advocate and inspiring the next generation of techs.
    • Rookie of the Year: Jinelee Galindez, Mercedes Benz of South Orlando. The Rookie of the Year category recognizes up-and-coming tech professionals with under two years’ professional experience.

    2022 grand prize winner and CarMaxtechnician Daniel McCrum was ecstatic about the recognition he received from winning. “I kinda thought I had a pretty fair chance to win something...but I didn't think I could win the whole thing,” he said. “This is a national contest…it's nationwide and I won!” McCrum will join this year’s grand prize winner at STX 2024 in Nashville.

    Since 2018, the Techs Rock Awards have awarded more than $46,000 in prizes to 20 professional technicians in recognition of their excellence, passion and commitment to driving the future of the mobility industry. Technicians will shape our future, and the Techs Rock Awards are made possible by TechForce donors who help shape theirs. In addition to providing prizes, Nissan is co-sponsoring the 2023 Techs Rock Awards to help TechForce celebrate all technicians’ contributions throughout the country and the industry.

    The Techs Rock Awards are part of TechForce’s workforce development campaign to inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. TechForce also created the first and only social network designed and gamified for professional technicians and tech students to connect with each other, employers and schools. The transportation community is supporting it with content and using it to learn, connect, find events and explore job opportunities while competing for prizes and leaderboard status.

    Source: TechForce Foundation

  • 3D Collision Centers Sees ‘Consistent Profit’ Partnering with PPG

    PPG-3D-Collision-Centers-PA

    Before Dave Niestroy opened 3D Auto Body in West Chester, PA, in 1981, he spent free time in high school doing repairs in his parents’ garage. Now, 3D Collision Centers spans three counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, with seven physical locations and one satellite location at a Subarudealership.

    Patrick McCready, operations manager, said 3D stayed at one location until the late ‘90s, and then began opening two at a time every few years until the most recent addition in 2017.

    “Dave worked closely with insurance partners to find markets that needed a strong, DRP-friendly shop,” McCready said.

    3D Collision Centers
    West Chester, PA
    610-692-7776
    www.3Dbodyworks.com
    Facebook: @3DCollision
    Instagram: @3dcollisioncenter

    Company At A Glance...
    Type: Collision Repair
    Facility Employees: 135
    In Business Since: 1981
    Number of Locations: Seven
    Combined Production Space: 90,000 square feet

    McCready said 3D Collision Centers has always believed in developing talent.

    “We make a point to engage young people by promoting them from within and investing in them, whether it’s through education, special training or promotions,” he said. “Our greatest asset is our team members, and with today’s challenges, rather than placing ads and hiring people, I think it’s more important to make sure we’re paying a fair wage, that our relationships with insurance partners stay strong, and giving everyone a friendly, nice area to work, along with excellent benefits.”

    PPG-3D-Collision-Centers-PA
    In 2016, PPG helped 3D Collision Centers build one of the first fully-equipped Symach shops in the country.

    McCready explained 3D Collision Centers’ success also comes from continual investment in new, updated technology. Since 2014, it has used PPG’s ENVIROBASE® High Performance waterborne system.

    “We were transitioning from solvent to a water-based product to get ahead of regulations and be compliant,” he said. “So, from everything we looked into and tried, we felt that PPG Envirobase was by far the most superior water-based product on the market from a production standpoint.”

    McCready said 3D Collision Centers was also investing in OEM certifications at the time, so finding a paint distributor that aligned with this goal was crucial.

    “Out of the competitors, we felt PPG had the best coverage as far as OEM certifications,” he explained.

    In 2016, PPG also helped 3D Collision Centers build one of the first fully-equipped Symachshops in the country.


    “The technology started in Italy and it bakes a vehicle within minutes, as opposed to a traditional downdraft paint booth,” McCready explained. “It has helped us improve our cycle times and allows us to paint 15 to 20 cars a day.”

    McCready said PPG provided “great support” when bringing Symach to the Conshohocken, PA, location.

    “PPG saw the future in drying technology and sent chemists out in the first few months to adapt a clear coat that would pass United States drying regulations,” he said. “Now, that shop alone is 30,000 square feet, producing on average $800,000 to $1 million a month in gross sales.”

    3D Collision Centers also recently started using the new PPG VISUALIZID™ 3D color rendering software and DIGIMATCH™ spectrophotometer.

    PPG-3D-Collision-Centers-PA
    Operations Manager Patrick McCready said 3D Collision Centers prioritizes team members by “ensuring they’re paid a fair wage and given a friendly, nice area to work, along with excellent benefits.”

    “The VisualizID 3D color rendering software is easy to use,” said Jake Vogel, painter. “All the jobs are signed ROs from the office; they could put the paint code in that software and it’s already on that job.”

    Vogel said this goes hand in hand with the DigiMatch spectrophotometer.

    “A painter, prepper or anybody can go out in the morning and take a spectro reading of every car in paint and assign it to that RO from the device itself,” he explained. “So, when you download the reading into the PaintManager XI software, it’s already all labeled in the ROs, and all you have to do is click on it and go.”

    Vogel said he appreciates how the RO shows the estimated material cost, so he knows where he wants to be as far as selecting the right amount of base or clear coat.

    He said the new DigiMatch spectrophotometer works in conjunction with the VisualizID software, which “has a 3D visualizer that shows you a computer-generated spray out of your spectro reading compared to one from PPG themselves, so you see all angles before you go and do a spray out to guarantee the match.”

    McCready added the new VisualizID technology shows how a color will flop with sunlight.

    “If Jake is painting a bumper only, it gives him a visual,” McCready said. “It may not be the exact color on the screen, but rather than walking out with a paint swatch or a spray out, it’ll show him how this color will look under certain light to human eyes, which drastically reduces the struggle of matching paint in different lighting.”

    McCready also explained how the PaintManagerXI software has developed to integrate with body shop management systems.

    “The painter can see the amount written for materials when he starts to mix the color,” he said. “So, if there is a special toner required or anything along those lines, we will see the paint cost immediately, and we are able to supplement accordingly in real time.”

    McCready concluded that 3D Collision Centers has noticed a more consistent gross profit thanks to the technology that PPG offers.

    PPG
    440-572-2800
    rusnak@ppg.com
    www.ppgrefinish.com
    Facebook: @PPGRefinish
    Twitter: @PPGRefinish_NA
    Instagram: : @ppgrefinish
    YouTube: PPG Refinish (USA/Canada)

    To read more auto body shop profiles in the October 2023 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.

  • 3M™ Skills Development Center Hosts Grand Opening

    3M-collision-repair-instructor-training-center

    3M™ Skills Development Center Hosts Grand Opening

    The new 15,000-square-foot training facility is dedicated to upskilling technicians and fostering talent in the collision repair industry.

    Written by Autobody News Staff
    Published
    Oct. 13, 2023

    3Mon Oct. 11 announced the grand opening of the 3M™ Skills Development Center, a new 15,000-square-foot state-of-the-art training facility in St. Paul, MN, dedicated to educating and upskilling technicians across all experience levels on the most updated automotive collision repair and refinishing processes through intensive, hands-on training.

    Autobody News' Stacey Phillips in August had the chance to tour the facility and speak to collision repair instructors from across the country attending a four-day training program.

    “With rapidly changing vehicle technology and a shortage of qualified collision repair technicians, investment in training is crucial to today’s aftermarket," said Dave Gunderson, president, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “Whether technicians are here to deepen their skills, challenge their own experiences or learn from experts to broaden their knowledge of collision repair, we want the 3M Skills Development Center to be the source of continuing education for industry leaders.”

    The 3M Skills Development Center further builds on 3M’s commitment to investing in training for skilled trades. The facility complements the company’s suite of online training programs available through the 3M™ Collision Repair Academy, offering a dedicated physical space for technicians to experience comprehensive and hands-on training courses led by seasoned collision repair experts. 

    Core to the 3M Skills Development Center are multi-day training courses for technicians focused on body repair, paint preparation and refinishing. And with an eye toward bringing new talent into the trades, each summer the 3M Skills Development Center also hosts vocational technical instructors from across the country for intensive training courses on proper OEM repair procedures. 

    Leading instruction at the 3M Skills Development Center is a dedicated and passionate staff of seasoned collision repair veterans who bring more than 85 years of combined industry experience and expertise in OEM repair procedures and requirements, with 60 of those years spent working on the shop floor as technicians. 

    With the new, dedicated training facility and training staff, 3M will be able to accommodate more than 100 training sessions annually, providing hands-on education to more than 1,000 technicians and associated industry professionals.

  • 5 Trends That Changed the Auto Repair Industry in 2022

    collision-repair-industry-2022-trends

    5 Trends That Changed the Auto Repair Industry in 2022

    PublishedDec. 28, 2022

    CCC Intelligent Solutions, Inc., recently took a look at the factors that had the biggest impact on the collision repair industry in 2022, many of which were financial.

    Inflation

    Inflation---perhaps one of the words that best defines 2022. At the close of 2021, many were hoping we had seen the worst of rising inflation as supply chain issues were getting better, whether it was the lower cost of shipping goods or automakers predicting improved supplies of semiconductor chips. But then Russia invaded Ukraine and the cost of oil and other raw materials shot up.

    Overall inflation hit a forty-year high at midyear, and the 6.6% increase in September in the core Consumer Price Index (CPI), which excludes energy and food prices, was the biggest increase since August 1982.

    People cooped up at home for nearly two full years splurged on travel, shifting their spending from big goods like furniture and home improvement to trips abroad and dining out. This left many businesses with too much of the wrong inventory and other businesses with not enough employees.

    The “great resignation” and “quiet quitting” emerged alongside soaring wages. Incomes for many workers improved substantially---leaving industries like the collision repair industry further strapped for new entrants. Other industries that experienced increases in early retirements in CY 2020 found themselves unable to backfill those positions when workloads returned to pre-pandemic levels.

    Wages across all industries have been growing at much faster rate than in many years, and while wage growth in the trade and transportation industry outpaces growth across all industries, it still trails inflation overall.

    Good news? Overall inflation has started to fall slightly, as some widely purchased goods like clothes, vehicles and appliances have seen their prices fall. Unfortunately, these types of goods account for only one quarter of the CPI. Inflation in services, food and energy continues to rise, and non-energy services makes up more than half of the CPI.

    So, what might we expect moving forward? All things related to owning a vehicle in 2023 will continue to cost more.

    Shifting Consumer Behavior Around Vehicle Purchases

    According to the NADA, the average new vehicle retail selling price was $45,646 for the first half of 2022---up nearly 14%---while the average used vehicle retail selling price increased nearly 26%.

    Higher interest rates and a more expensive vehicle mix have also led to larger and longer new and used vehicle loans payments and terms. Higher cost vehicles, limited inventory and fears of a recession have kept more people out of the market---Cox Automotive predicts new and used vehicle sales will fall in 2022 to 13.7 million and 36.3 million respectively.

    Should the U.S. experience a recession in late 2022 to early 2023, vehicle sales will likely decline or stay flat, and new and used vehicle prices may soften further.

    However, supplies of new and used vehicles remain below pre-pandemic levels, so declining demand will likely have only marginal impact on pricing. For example, U.S. dealers had only 32 days’ supply of new vehicle inventory Sept. 30, 2022, versus 66 days on Sept. 30, 2019. And while Cox Automotive data shows wholesale days’ supply have improved, overall wholesale used vehicle volumes will drop to 9 million in 2023 versus 13.1 million in 2019, keeping future supply constrained.

    The average new vehicle retail selling price dropped 1.6% during the last Great Recession in 2007 to 2008, while wholesale used vehicle values fell more than 6% and the BLS CPI used car and truck index fell more than 5%.

    During that period, the industry also had a healthy supply of both new and used vehicles. Subsequently, even if vehicle prices were to fall in a similar manner from a recession in 2023, they would remain well above pre-pandemic levels. In fact, Manheimreports its wholesale used vehicle value index rose 46.7% by December 2021 versus the prior year, and forecasts it will fall nearly 14% by December 2022, and decline less than 1% by December 2023.

    So while used vehicle prices and subsequently total loss costs may trend lower in 2023, it’s likely they could remain as much as 20% higher than pre-pandemic.

    At the same time, those consumers buying new vehicles are buying more expensive vehicles like light trucks and electric vehicles. Through Q3 2022, sales of EV’s in the U.S. were nearly 600,000, up 70% from the same period in 2021, accounting for nearly 6% of all new vehicle sales.

    With automakers all racing to get more EV models into production, demand for the raw materials needed in the manufacture of EV batteries has surged, driving up their costs. Higher raw material prices mean EVs are costing more.

    Looking to keep the U.S. competitive as it electrifies its fleet and to make it less reliant on other countries, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS & Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act combined will invest more than $135 billion to build on the growing demand for EVs, including critical minerals sourcing and processing and battery manufacturing in the U.S.


    5 Trends That Changed the Auto Repair Industry in 2022 (article continued)

    Increased Cost to Repair Damaged Vehicles

    Automakers are also incorporating more technology in their vehicles---things like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control or L2 vehicle autonomy; connected car technology; and more. As more vehicles come equipped with this technology, vehicle repair cost and complexity grow.

    More vehicle repairs include costs associated with vehicle scan and calibration, operations that have added $66 and $27 per claim respectively versus just $4 and $5 per claim in early 2017. More parts are replaced per repair, and more labor hours are needed---both have seen steady growth over time. Average repair costs have been climbing steadily for years, even when prior years’ average total cost of repairs are adjusted for inflation.

    In fact, just taking the five-year average growth in labor hours, part replacements and frequency of scan and calibration per claim and assuming no increase in labor rates or part costs suggests repair costs could climb another 4% to 5% in 2023 versus 2022. Given the current and anticipated shortage of collision repair technicians and continued push by repairers to raise rates to help recruit more to the industry, labor rates will likely see further increases in 2023, and average cost of repairs may climb as much as 10% in 2023.

    Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in vehicles continue to proliferate. By Sept. 1, 2022, nearly all automakers have committed to minimally equip all vehicles of 8500 curb weight produced for the U.S. market with front crash warning and automatic emergency braking. As of Sept. 1, 2021, it’s estimated approximately 80% of the newest vehicles were already meeting that commitment.

    As more vehicles come so equipped, many are also coming with additional ADAS technology like L2 autonomy (aka adaptive cruise control with lane keeping assist) which, unfortunately, data from IIHS and others shows may be leading drivers to take on more risk from speeding and distraction.

    Additionally, real-world data on driver-assistance technology from IIHS/HLDI shows these systems help drive down frequency of low-value claims, but collision and property damage liability (PDL) average claim severities are shifted upward. For example, their analysis showed a nearly 40% drop in the frequency of PDL claims less than $1,500 involving an insured striking vehicle with AEB, and a more than 20% drop in the frequency of PDL claims costing between $1,500 and $6,999, pushing the average severity of all PDL claims up by nearly 20%.

    Rising Insurance Premiums

    In response to frequency continuing to climb to pre-pandemic levels and soaring loss costs, the auto insurance industry has been working to raise premiums. Comparison of the year-over-year increases in other CPI categories like used cars and trucks, motor vehicle body work, motor vehicle parts and equipment illustrates the challenge carriers face in responding to significant inflation affecting auto claims.

    Higher Gas Prices

    Last, but certainly not least, gas prices are also expected to remain elevated in 2023. While prices for gasoline have fallen from over $5 per gallon in June, the Energy Information Administration forecasts gasoline prices will average $3.57 per gallon in 2023, versus $2.78 per gallon in the first half of 2021. As miles driven in the U.S. build, and congestion levels grow, higher gas prices will drive down spending in other areas among most consumers.

    2023 is shaping up to be another year where the expense of owning a vehicle won’t be cheap.

    Source: CCC Intelligent Solutions, Inc.

  • Aims Community College Students Excel in Regional SkillsUSA Competition

    Aims-Community-College-students-SkillsUSA

    Five students from the Colorado school move on to the state competition.

  • Area 31 Career Center Prepares Indiana High Schoolers for Variety of Careers

    Area 31 Career Center Prepares Indiana High Schoolers for Variety of Careers

    Written by Jade Thomas, Chalkbeat Indiana
    Published
    Aug. 14, 2023

    The halls of Area 31 Career Center in Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, IN, are quiet. It’s a Friday afternoon in the second week of school, and behind each door, a new career path awaits. 

    Patrick Biggerstaff, director of career and technical education, opens the door to the automotive collision repair course and the empty hallway is suddenly engulfed in sound. Tools line the walls and cars of all makes and models fill the space. Students wearing safety goggles hose and mop the floor. 

    Behind another door is an ambulance fully equipped with lights, a stretcher and several training mannequins. Yet another door hides a salon where students are perfecting a type of pin curl. Instead of pencil cases and notebooks, yellow boxes full of brushes and clips are located at each workstation.

    Other rooms host a multitude of professional possibilities with kitchens packed with huge mixers and restaurant-size bottles of seasoning, mock medical stations furnished with hospital beds and wheelchairs, and computer labs housing cybersecurity students engrossed in an activity about hacking.

    Area 31, which serves 11 high schools, including Ben Davis, allows students to work towards certification or obtain college credit. The center provides opportunity in a state where the college-going rate has hardly changed since last year’s report on the class of 2020 showed around 53% went to college.

    While Area 31 Career Center is not new, Biggerstaff, who started at Ben Davis as a teacher 17 years ago, said he recognizes changes. In the past, Biggerstaff said, Area 31 programs were seen as last resorts for students who were behind academically, but over the past decade, students now have a wide range of strengths.

    Biggerstaff said Area 31 is working hard to make sure students can achieve certification or college credit.

    Tola Aluko, who’s in the pharmacy tech program, first heard about Area 31 when she was in eighth grade. She was interested in the Early College Career Center with Vincennes University, which allows students to complete associate degrees in select programs, like pharmacy tech. Now a senior, she said she hopes to study forensics and pharmacology in college.

    Aluko said she feels like she’ll have an advantage in college because the program helped her learn about medication and lab practices.

    Biggerstaff said the state routinely emphasizes the three routes students can take after high school: employment, enlistment or enrollment. But in his opinion, it’s not fair to push a student down one path without giving them the opportunity to explore the others.

    “I had two high school principals tell me I’d never graduate high school,” Biggerstaff said. “You can’t look at a kid and know for sure where they’re going to be. We’ve got to prepare them for all three of those routes, and then let them make the decision. And guess what? It’s probably going to change.” 

    Applying for Area 31

    At the beginning of a new school year, most Indiana students are in classes for eight hours. For students at Area 31, that rhythm looks a little different.

    Students attend three-hour career center classes in the afternoon or morning. For the rest of the day, students attend their normal high school classes. Some career center classes remain on campus, while others might be held at places like construction sites and medical facilities for students to gain practical experience.

    Students, typically juniors and seniors, can apply in January and rank programs they’re interested in; their counselors then determine if they have time for a three-hour class. An enrollment committee makes final decisions based on GPA, attendance and behavior.

    Class size varies depending on the program. For example, a construction trades class can have up to 40 students because the bus to a construction site can seat that many students, Biggerstaff said.
     
    Welding is Area 31’s most in-demand program, with 75 students on the waitlist, Biggerstaff explained.

    Forrest Lee, a senior at Cascade High School, said he was inspired to look into the career center because of his brother, a welder. While Lee didn’t want to do welding, he wanted to do something similar, so he chose construction trades.

    “I like seeing the progress you’ve made with a building especially,” Lee said. “Just seeing at the end of the day what you’ve done, I think that’s really awesome.”

    Preparing Students for Real-Life Situations

    The center has many instructors who have work experience in the fields they teach. Lauren Freeman, an instructor in her second year of the pre-nursing program, is a registered nurse and previously worked at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital.

    Even though students have just entered the program, they’re already learning about professionalism and skills employers are looking for, Freeman said.

    Some students have already started applying those skills in professional environments. Seniors Ashley Neese and Paige Allen-Price are in the horticulture program, and worked together at Dammann’s Garden Center and Greenhouse. Neese still works there and said it’s made her job that much easier.

    “I’m able to identify species better or I can answer questions about chemicals,” Neese said. “Now I can tell which is full sun and what’s not full sun, what’s gonna come around every year, what’s not gonna come around. I have a lot more respect at my job than I used to.”

    Neese listed the positives of being part of Area 31: she feels more responsible and has developed a broader worldview. “And you make friends!” Neese said, gesturing towards Allen-Price. “So many friends.”

    Biggerstaff said he wants students to choose whichever career path is right for them. On the way into Biggerstaff’s office is a sign on the wall that reads in simple black lettering, “work hard and be nice to people.”

    “So many families in our country look at that four-year college degree attainment as that status symbol,” Biggerstaff said. “Like I as a parent have failed, if my kid doesn’t go to a four-year college. But the reality of our environment is that there are many, many paths to success.”

    We thank Chalkbeat Indiana for reprint permission.

  • ASE Education Foundation Updates High-Voltage, EV/Hybrid Safety Accreditation Standards

    ASE-accreditations-standards

    Every three years, ASE looks at updating its standards in response to the changes taking place in the industry.

  • ASE Updates Accreditation Standards for High Voltage System Safety

    ASE-EV-safety-standards-training

    ASE Updates Accreditation Standards for High Voltage System Safety

    Written by Autobody News Staff
    Published
    Sept. 25, 2023

    The ASE Education Foundation revised its accreditation standards for truck and collision repair training programs, specifically focusing on tasks, tools and equipment related to high-voltage (HV) systems, including those found on electric vehicles and hybrids, it announced in a news release. 

    Additionally, the foundation has published a list of training resources that schools can use when planning updates to their curriculum and training equipment to address EV technologies. These updates reflect the foundation’s continued commitment to provide solutions to the technician shortage. 

    “As more and more electric vehicles enter the marketplace, we feel it is imperative to ensure that students entering the workforce today are properly trained to work safely around these systems, even if they are not yet repairing the high voltage systems themselves,” said Mike Coley, president of the ASE Education Foundation. “Collaborating with individuals representing all facets of the transportation industry, as well as instructors and industry trainers, we are developing an evolving road map that programs can use to begin integrating EV technology into their current programs, including a list of training resources for both instructors and students.”

    The ASE accreditation standards are updated about every three years to account for changes in technology, tools and service practices. In 2022 and 2023, technical revision committees from industry and education, recognizing the growing number of high voltage systems and electric vehicles, began to add related tasks, tools and equipment to the standards. The initial focus of most of these changes is to ensure entry-level students are able to learn and work around these systems in a safe manner.

    “The ASE automobile program accreditation task list will be reviewed and updated in early 2024, so no new high voltage/EV/hybrid required tasks have been added yet,” said Coley. “It is likely that tasks, tools and equipment similar to the ones developed for medium/heavy duty truck and collision repair will be added at that time. We strongly encourage automotive program instructors and administrators consult with their advisory committees, start adopting the new HV/EV tasks, and begin curriculum and budget planning to prepare for the growing need for this knowledge.”

    For more information about the new standards and training resources, click here.

  • ATMC Annual Conference Highlighted by Release of Training Benchmarks Survey Results

    ASE-training-managers-council-benchmarks-survey-results

    ATMC Annual Conference Highlighted by Release of Training Benchmarks Survey Results

    PublishedMay 16, 2023

    The annual conference of the ASE Training Managers Council(ATMC) was recently held in Grapevine, TX. Featuring several presentations and roundtable discussions focused on training and manager development, conference attendees were also updated with the latest findings of the ATMC training benchmarks survey.

    “We had a terrific turnout at this year’s ATMC conference with representatives from the OE, aftermarket, trucking, fleet and collision segments of the industry,” said Matt Shepanek, president of ATMC. “The feedback received was very positive and attendees said that the presentations and breakout sessions were very informative. The panel discussion on EV training solutions was especially well received and because of the need for training in this area, we plan to expand on that topic in the future.”

    Sponsored by Advance Auto Parts, ATech Training, Bridgestone, Hayes Automotive Group, Snap-on, Toyota, Worldpacand Worldpac Training Institute, the ATMC conference culminated with a presentation of the annual ATMC training benchmarks survey results where critical areas of how ATMC’s training consumers view its training offerings, as well as industry technical statistics, were shared with the group.

    The ATMC training benchmarks survey is conducted annually within the automotive and heavy-duty vehicle service and repair industry. The survey is designed to establish a series of metrics to help the industry recognize trends, provide a comparison standard and align the offerings of training providers with the needs of training consumers.

    In this year's survey, among collision technician respondents, the largest age group was 35-44 (28.1% of respondents), followed by 25-34 (21.9%), 55-64 (18.8%) and 65+ (15.6%.)

    Three quarters of collision technician respondents said they worked in an independent shop; 16% worked for a fleet, and 9% for a dealership.

    Collision technicians said they most need training in hybrid/EV systems (48.2%) and ADAS (47%.)

    To view the ATMC training benchmarks survey results, visit ATMC.org.

    Source: ASE

  • Audi, Volkswagen Donate Damaged Vehicles to Collision Repair Educational Programs

    Audi-Volkswagen-damaged-cars-donation-collision-repair-education

    Audi, Volkswagen Donate Damaged Vehicles to Collision Repair Educational Programs

    PublishedJuly 7, 2023

    Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Audi of America and Volkswagen of America are proud to announce they have partnered to donate 78 Audi and Volkswagen vehicles to collision repair programs throughout the U.S.

    These donations will enhance the education of thousands of collision repair students and support the next generation of the automotive workforce. In a rapidly changing industry, it is critical students have access to the latest vehicles and technology.

    The donated Audi and Volkswagen vehicles were damaged during shipping to the point that they could no longer be sold to customers. Upon evaluation, a group of Audi and Volkswagen employees knew this wasn’t the end for these vehicles as they were still functioning and intact.

    The CREF team got to work with Audi and Volkswagen on how these vehicles could serve a new purpose. Months of planning, coordinating and reviews among this dedicated group of Audi and Volkswagen employees, CREF and schools resulted in the donation of these vehicles to automotive training programs throughout the country.

    “We want to advance the next generation of technicians, and we’re committed to a more sustainable future,” said Mark Allen, manager of collision, equipment and EV after-sales service at Audi of America. “This was an opportunity where creativity and an open mind enabled us to live our sustainability values and map out a new way to help our industry.”

    Allen partnered with Tony Russo, Volkswagen Group of America damage prevention and port policies senior specialist, to reimagine the use of many vehicles damaged beyond reasonable repair. The Audi and Volkswagen team worked directly with CREF to help facilitate the donation of these vehicles.

    Allen and Russo also coordinated with Audi and Volkswagen dealerships and collision centers near the various schools, to ensure there is support for both the students and the schools by providing career opportunities for students and sourcing parts and addressing any technical questions for the school.

    “Audi and Volkswagen are giving back to the industry and the communities they work in by connecting their certification programs to the donation. They aren’t just donating the cars; they are also connecting local dealerships and national training staff to the schools receiving the donations to ensure the sustainability of these programs,” said CREF Director of Marketing and Project Management Amber Ritter. “The foundation is incredibly grateful for this donation, and we are looking forward to seeing how the donation of both ICE vehicles and EVs benefit students’ ability to better prepare for industry careers.”

    The donated vehicles range from large SUVs like the Audi Q7 to comparatively smaller cars like the Audi A3. There is also a mix of both ICE vehicles and EVs, including the Volkswagen ID.4 and Audi e-tron.

    The schools benefiting from these Audi and Volkswagen donations include the following:

    Maryland

    • Center of Applied Technology North, Severn
    • Center of Applied Technology South, Edgewater
    • Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg

    Michigan

    • Oakland Community College, Rochester Hills
    • Oakland School Technical Campus (OSTC)
    • OSTC Southeast, Clarkston
    • OSTC Northeast, Pontiac
    • OSTC Southeast, Royal Oak
    • OSTC Southwest, Wixom

    New Jersey

    • Passaic County Technical Institute, Wayne

    Tennessee

    • Bradley Central High School, Cleveland
    • Chattanooga State Community College, Chattanooga
    • Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)
    • TCAT, Crossville
    • TCAT, Knoxville
    • TCAT, Livingston
    • TCAT, Morristown

    Texas

    • JB Hensler College and Career, Manvel

    Virginia

    • Academies of Loudon, Leesburg
    • Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria

    Audi, Volkswagen Donate Damaged Vehicles to Collision Repair Educational Programs (article continued)

    Leaders from the various schools emphasized the importance of their students having the opportunity to work on newer vehicles with current technology. Having this access will put their students in a position to become higher skilled entry-level technicians when they graduate.

    “The donations will have a major impact on providing engaging, hands-on instruction for 480 students across four CTE [Career and Technical Education] campuses throughout Oakland County,” said Christopher Vraniak, campus dean for OSTC Southwest. “The donated vehicles that are assembled and equipped with the newest technology provide our students with the opportunity to train on the cutting edge of the industry. Moreover, the EVs will put our students well ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest industry trends. This is greatly important; our advisory committee has shared that the industry is rapidly moving towards EVs, so the donation of four EVs to our campuses was a very significant donation for which we are very, very grateful. This is one of the largest donations we have ever received and will be a foundation for our students moving forward.”

    “It is important to always be ahead and prepared for what is coming in the industry as our graduates are employed by companies throughout Tennessee and the nation,” said Cris Perkins, associate vice chancellor for strategic advancement and executive director of the Foundation for the College System of Tennessee, which supports the public Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and the state’s community colleges. “This partnership and donation helps further the mission of the Foundation for the College System of Tennessee to continually look for ways to bring in equipment and funding to help train our students as they learn at our colleges and make great employees.”

    “All of these programs are often underfunded, so finding parts and cars is the hardest aspect these instructors face when reviewing their budgets. They operate on a shoestring of funds, making it incumbent on the instructor’s ability to trade, buy and sell cars or have fundraising events to fund their program,” said Tim Pfeifle of Tysons Corner Collision Center in Vienna, VA. “This donation will help many local programs, and I am so proud my supporting manufacturer is making this very generous donation, which will pay dividends to our industry for years to come.”

    Audi and Volkswagen also recognize the need for students to receive the proper training on these modern vehicles, especially at a time when the nation is experiencing a major shortage of collision repair specialists. These donations further the goals of Audi and Volkswagen to attract and educate technicians on state-of-the-art vehicles.

    “We have paired these learning institutions with local Audi Authorized Collision Center or VW Certified Collision Centers as well Audi and VW dealers. These relationships will provide opportunities for mentoring and opportunities for future employment,” Russo said. “The schools will use the vehicles for both technical and collision classes until the vehicles can no longer provide any additional training value.”

    Once the vehicles can no longer provide value to classrooms, learning institutions will contact their local first responders who will use the vehicles for further training. First responders look for the latest equipment to use during training, allowing them to learn the cut points and other hazards when conducting extrication drills. The remains will then be sent off for recycling.

    Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs can contact us to learn about the many ways to get involved. Monetary donations can be made online.

    Source: CREF

  • Autel, CREF Donate ADAS Calibration Equipment to Collision School Programs

    Autel-CREF-ADAS-calibration-system-donation

    Eight schools will receive an Autel IA800 Lane Departure Warning (LDW) ADAS Calibration Package.

    Autel has partnered with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) to donate an Autel Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) Calibration Package to eight standout U.S. collision repair school programs, the company announced in a news release.

    The Autel IA800 Lane Departure Warning (LDW) ADAS Calibration Package includes an IA800 ADAS Optical Positioning Frame System, LDW targets and patterns for 20 vehicle brands, a MaxiSYS 909 tablet with ADAS calibration software, a VCI/J2534 pass-thru programming device, and a full-color, 244-page Autel Academy ADAS training manual.

    CREF is the collision industry's national charity that works to support high school and post-secondary collision programs, students and instructors nationwide. This includes roughly 1,000 collision high school and technical/community college programs that educate roughly 30,000 collision students each year. Schools were eligible to receive the Autel equipment donations by applying for CREF's annual Benchmark grant program, the recipients of which will be announced during the 2023 SEMA Show, Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Las Vegas.

    "On behalf of the collision school programs that CREF works to support, I would like to thank and recognize Autel for this incredible ADAS equipment donation," said CREF Executive Director Brandon Eckenrode. "As instructors face challenging program budgets, it's through our industry partners that we are able to help invest in their programs and ensure that these schools have up-to-date equipment and technology for their students' technical education. We look forward to this collaboration with Autel and connecting them with collision instructors so that students are better trained and prepared for employment within the industry." 

    The donation is the collaboration's first prong in its just-launched, three-prong campaign to enable automotive vocational schools, colleges and universities to develop curriculums using software and equipment that offers comprehensive ADAS vehicle and safety system coverage based on OE specifications. 

    CREF will gift an additional Autel-donated IA800 LDW Calibration Package at a CREF webinar titled "The Importance of Adding ADAS To Your Curriculum," 11 a.m. to noon ET Nov. 15. Register here to attend the webinar.

    As the third prong in the campaign, Autel is offering the package at a significantly reduced rate to automotive vocational schools. Interested schools can visit here for package details and purchasing options.

    "Autel is proud to partner with CREF, an organization dedicated to ensuring that the schools it represents have the best tools, equipment and supplies the industry offers, giving students the skills they need to face the challenges of servicing today's sophisticated vehicles," said Autel CEO Chloe Hung. "It is estimated that by 2043, 95% of all registered vehicles in the U.S. will be equipped with most ADAS including rear parking sensors, rearview camera, LDW and Blind Spot Warning. The importance of correctly calibrating these systems cannot be overstated; it's truly a matter of life and death. Our tools are designed for the skilled technician dedicated to providing exceptional diagnostic and repair services to their customers. And we are grateful to CREF for allowing Autel through our tools to be part of the learning process for these future technicians."

  • Auto Body Shop Owners Decide Where to Focus Attention, Resources in Near Future

    collision-repair-shop-owners-changes-issues

    Auto Body Shop Owners Decide Where to Focus Attention, Resources in Near Future

    Written by John Yoswick, Autobody News
    Published
    June 6, 2023

    An article posted to Autobody News in May asked a half dozen shop owners to reflect on a recent change they had made in their business and how it worked out.

    Now, some of those same shop owners---and others---look ahead rather than back, sharing what challenges they see and where they will be focusing added resources in the next year or two.

    Melanie Allan of Craftsman Collision in Long Beach, CA, said she’s a little concerned about the impact of a recession, if one occurs.

    “The number of $1,000 deductibles that I’m seeing is just off the charts,” she said. “It used to be $250 and $500. Now everybody seems to have $1,000 deductibles, and that’s a big chunk of money. We just fix regular cars, Corollas and Accords. There’s not a lot of affluence around here. So I’m concerned that people will not keep going on a claim when they realize they have a $1,000 deductible.”

    She said Yelpand Googlereviews now have a “massive” impact.

    “So we do whatever we can for customers. We’re bending over backwards for customers right now, more than ever,” she said. “We have to keep that up.”

    In Slidell, LA, Frank Rinaudo of Frank’s Accurate Body Shop also said Google reviews are a main focus.

    collision-repair-shop-owners-issues-changes
    Frank Rinaudo of Frank’s Accurate Body Shop in Slidell, LA, is pursuing certifications from EV OEMs and keeping an eye on online customer reviews.

    “I think there was a time when customers trusted that if their insurance company said, ‘Go here,’ they did that,” Rinaudo said. “Now they do their own research. We monitor why they came to us, and Google reviews are the No. 1 thing.”

    He said his shop is non-DRP but has nine OEM certifications.

    “We’re heavily pursuing that, particularly in the electric vehicle arena,” he said. “We’re onboarding with Rivian, Lucidand Mercedescurrently. So marketing, certifications and training are the three big focuses.”

    EVs, Customer Co-Pays

    Like Rinaudo, Gigi Walker of Walker’s Auto Body in Concord, CA, said her shop is also gearing up to repair Rivian’s electric vans.

    “We’ve been working on electric transit buses for a long time, and haven’t had any issues, but we are getting a little bit nervous about bringing in the Rivian vans,” Walker said. “I really have to brush up on the safety part of it: Where are we going to store these vans when sitting idle? There’s lots of stories out there.”

    Another potential focal point Walker mentioned: “I’m probably going to be working toward selling my shop in the next three years,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for 35 years. But I also don’t want to just walk away from the industry, because I feel I have so much information I can share.”

    Tom Ricci, owner of Body & Paint Center in Hudson, MA, said with most insurers in his market paying labor rates of $43 or less, he’s considering whether to start collecting more from customers.

    “There seems to be a wave going on of people getting off all the programs and starting to do a co-pay just like with medical and dental insurance,” Ricci said. “We’re faced with that. How many customers will we lose? And can we afford not to? I think the numbers are going to drive me there. We just can’t do it for this rate any more. That to me is the next big hurdle. I’ve heard a lot of people say you don’t lose that many customers, but I’m not sure how warmly it will be received.”

    A New Location

    Keith Hamm, owner of AutoCraft Collision, a 10-employee, 11,000-square-foot shop in Paso Robles, CA, said he’s currently focused on the opening of a second location.

    “It was an existing shop in a great location, about 20 miles away in a neighboring town, that we purchased,” Hamm said. “The guy and and his father worked there, and they were just done. I bought it from him, and he actually became an estimator for me. We’ll be able to grab more work from a neighboring town.”

    Hamm said he’ll also be focused on getting more OEM certifications and streamlining processes.

    “I’ve also been thinking about shifting to a four-day work week,” he said. “That way people have more of a balance between work and home, and I think it will help us keep our guys and get more people to jump on board. I’m kicking that around to see how I can implement it.”


    Auto Body Shop Owners Decide Where to Focus Attention, Resources in Near Future (article continued)

    Repair Quality

    Second-generation shop owner Tiffany Silva of Accurate Auto Body in Richmond, CA, said her company is staying focused on proper, safe repairs.

    “We just brought on AirPro Diagnostics,” she said. “We have multiple scanners here and we pre- and post-repair scan every car, but I just pre-scanned a car and the [aftermarket] scanner didn’t catch there was a blown airbag. How frustrating is that?”

    She said the shop holds some OEM certifications.

    “But I’m letting go a lot of the OE ‘recognition’ and sticking with just the ‘certifications,' the ones that have brought value to me,” she said.

    She’s investing in ongoing technician training, noting she’d just flown two techs for training by Equip Automotive Systems.

    “It was $7,500 for two days, but I’m reassured they are doing a safe, proper repair when it comes to replacing a quarter-panel as the OEMs want, with the OEM procedures,” she said.

  • Auto Care Association Introduces New Online Learning Resource

    Auto-Care-Association-Academy-Northwood-University

    Auto Care Association Introduces New Online Learning Resource

    PublishedSept. 18, 2023

    The Auto Care Association on Sept. 18 announced the launch of Auto Care Academy, a convenient, self-paced online learning resource for auto care industry professionals. The online academy caters to professionals at all stages of their careers, from new industry entrants to seasoned veterans.

    In addition to the value these interactive online courses provide for the professional development of employees, completing Auto Care Academy contributes to the enhancement of an aftermarket industry brand’s human capital and long-term success. 

    “Our goal for Auto Care Academy is to empower professionals and to ensure their continued success in the ever-evolving automotive aftermarket," said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. "We are excited to provide a high-quality, educational resource that aims to equip industry professionals with the skills necessary to thrive in their roles." 

    Professionals can easily access the platform by visiting academy.autocare.org and logging in using their autocare.org credentials. Once logged in, learners can select and purchase their preferred courses, and gain immediate access to the training modules and related exams. Purchasers are granted lifetime access to course content and related documents, encouraging continuous learning and skill development.

    Auto Care Academy is collaborating with Northwood University to further extend the educational opportunities available to learners. Through this collaboration, participants can access Northwood University’s University of the Aftermarket online course catalog, unlocking a wide range of additional resources and knowledge.

    The first two courses released in the data standards series are: Introduction to ACES and PIES and Intermediate ACES and PIES. These courses are specifically designed to amplify the knowledge and expertise of industry catalog managers, content managers, category managers and product data specialists. Additionally, the Academy's development team is actively working on the third course, PIES for Heavy Duty, to enable the heavy duty aftermarket to increase efficiency for suppliers and distributors while ultimately creating a better experience for customers.

    Furthermore, Auto Care Academy is excited to introduce Aftermarket Essentials, a forthcoming comprehensive course developed to onboard and educate new employees about the entire auto care ecosystem, including industry workings and best practices. Successful completion of this course is a prerequisite for the University of the Aftermarket’s program, Aftermarket 101.

    "Northwood University is honored and privileged to collaborate with the Auto Care Association on this key education initiative,” said Dr. Thomas Litzinger, executive director of the University of the Aftermarket. “The Auto Care Academy is an innovative platform that will provide educational experiences to industry professionals who otherwise may not have the opportunity to participate. Northwood is committed to developing the future leaders of our global aftermarket and to creating immersive learning opportunities for everyone, everywhere."

  • Average Length of Rental Still Increasing, But at Slower Pace

    Length-of-Rental-Q4-2022-increase

    Average Length of Rental Still Increasing, But at Slower Pace

    PublishedJan. 31, 2023

    Enterpriseon Jan. 31 reported the average Length of Rental (LOR) in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 18.7 days, a one-half day increase over the quarter before it---a typical annual pattern, brought about by winter weather, animal accidents and holiday travel.

    When compared to the same quarter the year before it, LOR was up 1.7 days in Q4 2022. That is an increase, but not as high as Q3 2022’s results, which showed a three-day increase year over year, and less than the 3.9-day increase observed in Q4 2021 compared to Q4 2020.

    Louisiana recorded the highest overall LOR of any state at 22.3 days, a one-day increase over its Q4 2021 results, followed by Oklahoma (21.4), Rhode Island (21.1), and Georgia (21.0). Ten additional states saw LOR above 20 days.

    The lowest LOR in the country was Hawaii at 13.7 days, still an increase of 0.8 over Q4 2021.

    Alaska (20.3) saw the highest year-over-year increase---4.5 days. Colorado, Montana, South Dakota and Washington also saw increases of three days or more.

    Enterprise-Q4-2022-LOR-regional

    Every state saw an increase year over year, but New Jersey, Vermont, Wyoming, Hawaii, California and New York were less than one full day.

    Parts issues, technician staffing and more complex repairs continue to be referenced by industry experts as factors in longer repair times.

    “The overall trends in LOR match up with what we saw happen with the backlog of work that repairers reported in our Q4 survey,” said John Yoswick, editor of the weekly CRASH Network newsletter. “While the national average backlog remained at 4.8 weeks, unchanged from the record high in Q3, there was another jump in the percentage of shops with the largest backlogs. A record 25% of shops were reporting eight weeks or more of work scheduled. For comparison, in pre-pandemic Q4 2019, just 6.4% of shops had backlogs of even just four weeks or more, and the national average was under two weeks.

    “Some of the state changes in LOR sync up with what we saw in terms of shops’ backlog of work in Q4,” Yoswick continued. “Colorado, Montana, South Dakota and Washington, where Q4 LOR was up by three days or more, are all in regions where we saw Q4 backlogs increase by a half-week or more. These regions were also among those with the highest average Q4 backlog---5.5 weeks or more---compared to the three Sunbelt regions where average backlogs were between 3.5 and 4.9 weeks.”

    Greg Horn, PartsTrader’s chief innovation officer, who oversees the data analytics department, also commented on Q4 data trends.

    “At PartsTrader, we processed close to $2 billion in parts transactions in 2022 and track delivery days quoted in our platform,” Horn said. “We measure parts delivery days by measuring the median plus two standard deviations to capture the parts that are driving collision repair delays. While delays in parts is only one factor in longer repair times, it is a major one.

    “Our data shows that Q4 2022 median delivery days for parts were up by 0.4 days over Q3 2022, which tracks with Enterprise’s LOR reporting,” Horn continued. “Similarly, when we compared the Q4 2022 delivery days for parts to Q4 2021, we measured a nearly identical increase of 1.5 days. This would indicate a strong correlation between parts fulfillment and length of rental increases.”

    Ryan Mandell, director of claims performance for Mitchell International, shared some relevant data.

    “The average vehicle age in Q4 2022 was older than in Q4 2021---7.34 years old compared to 7.01 years old. Average severity is already nearing Q4 2021 numbers at $4,015, compared to $4,068, with approximately 40% of supplements still outstanding,” Mandell said. “Average total labor cost has already eclipsed the Q4 2021 number, increasing from $1,586 to $1,593. Again, important to keep in mind that as supplements are taken into account, the Q4 2022 number will continue to rise.”

    Drivable

    LOR associated with drivable claims was 16.2 days in Q4 2022, also a 1.7 day increase from Q4 2021, and only 0.6 days higher than Q3 2022.

    Rhode Island recorded the highest drivable LOR at 19.3 days, followed by Louisiana (18.9), Georgia (18.7), Oklahoma (18.7), Tennessee (18.2) and Oregon (18.1).

    The highest year-over-year increase was in Alaska, where LOR jumped 5.1 days higher than Q4 2021---almost two times greater than the next highest year-over-year increase seen in Washington (+2.8).

    The lowest drivable LOR was North Dakota at 11.3 days, followed by Hawaii (11.8), Vermont (12.6), Iowa (12.7) and DC (12.9).

    Wyoming saw only a 0.2-day increase; California, Louisiana, Michigan, Vermont and Washington, D.C., all had increases under one day.


    Average Length of Rental Still Increasing, But at Slower Pace (article continued)

    Non-Drivable

    For rentals associated with non-drivable claims, LOR was 27.1 days in Q4 2022, a 2.8-day increase from Q4 2021 (24.3), but almost static compared to Q3 2022 (up 0.1 day).

    Louisiana had the highest non-drivable LOR at 33.2 days, a 3.7-day increase from Q4 2021. An additional nine states all had non-drivable LOR higher than 30 days, followed by eight more states with LOR above 29 days.

    South Dakota (30.6) saw the highest increase, with LOR jumping eight days higher than Q4 2021 (22.6). Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Montana and Washington saw non-drive increases greater than five days.

    On the other end, Iowa and New York had the lowest non-drivable LOR at 23.0 days each, followed by Washington, D.C., at 23.4. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia had LORs under 25 days.

    Hawaii recorded the only decrease from the previous year’s quarter with results down 0.7 days.

    Yoswick offered additional insights into the repair backlog.

    “Parts issues, workforce challenges and more harder-hit vehicles are also showing up in another increase in late 2022 in how many jobs shops say they have in process relative to their typical workload,” he said. “The 300+ shops responding to a CRASH Network survey in December had an average car count of 79 jobs per month and reported currently having 61 jobs in process, or the equivalent of 77% of their typical monthly volume. That level of work-in-progress (WIP) is up from 64% three months earlier.

    “It may not be surprising to see WIP rising even further in the fourth quarter, typically the busiest in many regions of the country, but most shops are still citing a lack of technicians and parts delays as the chief causes for the backlog of work,” added Yoswick. “Some shops also noted a higher than usual number of non-drivable repairs gumming up the works.”

    “Non-drives are preventing regular scheduling, delaying repairs,” said the manager of a smaller independent shop in Pennsylvania responding to CRASH Network’s survey. “The last three out were each between $9,000 and $20,000 in damage.”

    Regarding increases in non-drivable repairs, Mandell added: “Air bag deployments have reached the highest number ever recorded at 1.26%, up from 1.11% in Q4 2021.”

    Total Loss

    LOR with totals was 18.2 days, a comparatively modest increase of 0.6 days from Q4 2021, and up 0.4 days from Q3 2022.

    Hawaii, which saw some good results in other channels, had the highest total loss LOR at 24.6 days, an increase of 4.3 days---also the highest. The next highest were Oregon (21.4) and North Carolina (21.0). Minnesota saw a large increase as well, jumping 3.4 days, followed by Ohio with a 3.0-day increase.

    On the other end, North Dakota saw a LOR of 14.9 days, followed by Vermont and Wisconsin at 15.9 days each. Seven additional states saw total loss LOR below 17 days.

    Twelve states, plus Washington, D.C., had decreases in total loss LOR compared to Q4 2021, led by Vermont (-2.4), Delaware (-1.4) and Rhode Island (-1.0).

    “Total Loss frequency rose sharply in Q4 2022 to 18.2%---up from 17.9% in Q4 2021 and 16% in Q3 2022,” Mandell said. “A portion of this increase can be attributed to Hurricane Ian, which resulted in Total Loss frequency in Florida in Q4 2022 reaching 27.2%, up from 16.4% in Q4 2021 and 15.9% in Q3 2022.”

    Summary

    While Q4 2022 continued with the return of historical trending, the results themselves continue to be exacerbated by supply chain disruptions, parts delays, collision repair backlogs, and technician shortages.

    With the complexity of vehicle repairs only increasing, for both internal combustion engine (ICE) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) models, the entire industry must play a part in ensuring all collision-related businesses are aligned---not just for procedural solutions, but to ensure our mutual customers receive safe and proper repairs, an excellent experience and peace of mind.

    Enterprise is committed to partnering with insurers, repairers, and suppliers on each one of these issues. Through foundational support provided by the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, Enterprise is spearheading the Collision Engineering Program, designed to attract and develop entry-level talent to fill essential roles within the collision repair industry. Enterprise is thrilled to expand its longtime partnership with Ford Motor Company, through its philanthropic arm, the Ford Fund, to expand the program and help address this ongoing industry challenge.

    For more information, visit www.beacollisionengineer.com.

    Source: Enterprise

  • BASF Honors Students at Detroit Autorama 2024

    Detroit-Autorama-BASF-student-award

    The winners receive an exclusive experience to evaluate paint in competition vehicles with industry professionals.

  • Body Shops Focusing on Employee Retention, Development of Entry-Level Techs

    body-shop-technician-staffing-shortage-training

    Owners are coming up with innovative ways to attract, train and keep technicians.

  • BodyShopJobs.com, Tasco Auto Color Partner to Recruit Auto Industry Employees

    Tasco-BodyShopJobs-partnership-recruiting

    BodyShopJobs.com, Tasco Auto Color Partner to Recruit Auto Industry Employees

    The collaboration integrates Tasco Auto Color's network of collision repair facilities with BodyShopJobs.com's user-friendly platform.

    Written by Autobody News Staff
    Published
    Oct. 16, 2023

    BodyShopJobs.com, an online job portal for the automotive repair industry, announced a strategic partnership with Tasco Auto Color, a distributor of automotive refinishing products and services.

    The collaboration is a significant step towards addressing the growing demand for skilled talent within the automotive sector. BodyShopJobs.com and Tasco Auto Color share a common vision of empowering employers and job seekers in the industry.

    By integrating Tasco Auto Color's vast network of body shops and collision centers with the dynamic platform of BodyShopJobs.com, employers will gain access to an expanded pool of highly qualified candidates. The user-friendly interface of BodyShopJobs.com will enable employers to post job openings, review applications and find the perfect fit for their workforce needs avoiding the clutter of unrelated job postings found on alternative platforms.

    For job seekers in the automotive industry, this partnership opens doors to numerous career opportunities nationwide. BodyShopJobs.com comprehensive database of job listings combined with Tasco Auto Color's strong industry connections will create a seamless experience for professionals looking to advance their careers.

    "We are thrilled to partner with Tasco Auto Color," said Diane Benting, president of BodyShopJobs.com. "Our mission is to connect professionals with businesses in the automotive repair sector. This collaboration with Tasco Auto Color will further amplify our efforts and provide job seekers with even more possibilities to grow in their careers."

    Tasco Auto Color has built a reputation as a trusted partner by providing top-quality products, training and support. The company's commitment to excellence aligns perfectly with BodyShopJobs.com dedication to helping employers find the right talent efficiently.

    As the automotive repair industry continues to evolve, this strategic partnership between BodyShopJobs.com and Tasco Auto Color demonstrates a shared commitment to driving progress and supporting the growth of skilled professionals within the sector.

  • Bogi Lateiner Promotes Inclusion in Schools, Workplaces at ASE Instructor’s Conference 

    ASE-Education-Foundation-instructors-conference-2023-Bogi-Lateiner

    Bogi Lateiner Promotes Inclusion in Schools, Workplaces at ASE Instructor’s Conference 

    PublishedSept. 6, 2023

    As the leading organization working to solve the technician shortage, the ASE Education Foundation engaged noted automotive expert and ASE spokesperson Bogi Lateiner to deliver her presentation, “Revving up the Diversity: Shaping an Inclusive Future in Auto Repair High School and College Shop Programs” at the recent ASE Education Foundation instructor’s conference. 

    Before a standing-room-only crowd, Lateiner gave a compelling speech that focused on how to develop new initiatives to create a culture of inclusiveness in schools and the workplace.

    “We want to thank Bogi for providing such an interesting and inspiring presentation,” said Mike Coley, president of the ASE Education Foundation. “Instructors have incredible influence on students. Helping instructors create an inclusive environment for both male and female students attracts more and better students which translates into more entry-level technicians.”

    Lateiner’s presentation started with a role-play featuring two male instructors as an automotive instructor and female student. The female student was trying to talk her way into an automotive course while the instructor was trying to talk her out of it. Although humorous, it hit home on how hard it can be for female students to be accepted into an automotive, collision or truck program.

    Some of the key points Lateiner emphasized in working with both male and female students included:

    • Treat them the same.Have the same expectations of work to be accomplished and knowledge to be gained. Do not “dumb down” skills for female students because of perceived strength or knowledge differences. A set of brakes doesn’t care what gender is changing them.
    • Do not compare. Don’t tell the male students that the female students are showing them up. Comments like that create more of a distance between male and female students and places unreasonable expectations on the female students.
    • Create an inviting environment for everyone.A large part of Lateiner’s presentation was about the “automotive club.” As Lateiner explained it, “We are the club,” and then explained, “that nobody wants to be a part of it. That needs to change if we want to solve the technician shortage.”

    “Often viewed as being sensitive, the younger generation is not necessarily sensitive, but asks for what they want and need,” said Lateiner. “In this hiring environment, employees have more power. Asking to be treated with respect, to be trained and provided with a career path while working in a collaborative environment isn’t being sensitive. It’s what every employee should have. Change starts with the instructors. They have the power to create and set the expectation of a good work environment that their students can then take to the workplace.”

    Source: ASE

  • Caliber's TAP Program Hits Milestone with 1,000 Graduates

    Caliber-TAP-program-1000-graduates

    Caliber's TAP Program Hits Milestone with 1,000 Graduates

    The auto body technician apprentice program is open to students, veterans and anyone seeking a new career in the auto services industry

    Written by Autobody News Staff
    Published
    Nov. 14, 2023

    Caliber’s innovative Technician Apprenticeship Program (TAP) recently graduated its 1,000th apprentice and announced the enrollment of an additional 2,000 apprentices, a strong response to the growing demand for skilled auto body technicians in the automotive industry.

    The TAP program, a cornerstone of Caliber's commitment to "Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life," emphasizes practical training and hands-on experience. It has been instrumental in not only equipping individuals with vital skills but also in addressing the industry-wide shortage of qualified technicians. 

    "This milestone is not just about numbers,” a spokesperson for Caliber noted. “It's about the lives we've impacted and the service quality we've enhanced across the industry." 

    The program's success also points to a larger trend in the industry towards investing in specialized training programs to bridge skill gaps. With technological advancements and evolving customer expectations shaping the automotive landscape, programs like TAP are becoming increasingly crucial.
     

  • California Shop Finds Success Using CCI Curriculum to Train New Technicians

    CCI-training-Fix-Auto-Downey-CA

    Pairing CCI training with a mentor in the shop helped the two recent Universal Training Institute graduates get up to speed.

  • Car ADAS Solutions, TechForce Foundation Partner

    Car-ADAS-Solutions-TechForce-Foundation

    Car ADAS Solutions donated $1,500 to support the foundation's mission to develop the technician workforce.

  • CARSTAR Apprentice Triumphs at SkillsUSA Georgia Competition

    CARSTAR-Car-Crafters-Blue-Ridge-GA-Dane-Robbins-SkillsUSA-Georgia

    High school senior Dane Robbins has been gaining experience as an apprentice at CARSTAR Car Crafters.

  • CAWA Announces 2023 Scholarship Winners

    CAWA Announces 2023 Scholarship Winners

    PublishedJune 9, 2023

    CAWA, Representing the Automotive Parts Industry, is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2023 scholarship awards. 

    CAWA provided more than $13,250 in scholarships this year to 13 individuals. Furthermore, each student will receive a $300 tool gift certificate compliments of CAWA member All Trade Tools. “Once again, CAWA is proud to assist these young people in pursuing their education and careers in the auto care industry”, said Rodney Pierini, president and CEO, in announcing the awards.

    Recipients of this year’s scholarships are:

    • Clark Howe, Mort Schwartz Award, WyoTech
    • Tomoko Yoshizumi, United Education Institute, Garden Grove
    • Jeremiah Weetly, Rutgers University
    • James Imperio, Pasadena City College
    • Benjamin Ramirez, Rio Hondo College
    • Kaniqua Suttle, Universal Technical Institute
    • Adeline Hampson, WyoTech
    • Sean Theron, Saddleback College
    • Erica Smith, United Education Institute, Bakersfield
    • Kendall Johnston, United Education Institute, West Covina
    • Stephen Abkin, Texas A&M
    • Krystina Colon, United Education Institute, Chula Vista
    • Edgar Tena, Pasadena City College

    The primary scholarship fundraising effort by CAWA is its annual dinner gala, underwritten by Motorcar Parts of America, to be held the Sunday night before the AAPEX and SEMA shows. This year it will be held at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Oct. 29. Scholarship funding also comes, in part, from a grant provided by the University of the Aftermarket Foundation.

    To contribute to the association’s scholarship fund or to donate prizes for the annual fundraising auction, contact Rodney Pierini at 916-635-9774 or admin@cawa.org or visit www.cawa.org.

    Source: CAWA

  • CCA to Award $17,000 in Tool Grants to Support Future Collision Repair Technicians

    CCA-2024-tool-grant-applications

    Applications for one of several $2,000 tool grants will be open Jan. 1 through Jan. 31.

  • Central Oregon Community College to Get Federal Funding for EV Tech Training Program

    Central Oregon Community College to Get Federal Funding for EV Tech Training Program

    PublishedMay 26, 2023

    Central Oregon Community College (COCC) was awarded nearly $3 million to help expand the electric vehicle (EV) technician workforce, Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced May 16. The funding comes from the National Science Foundation and will support COCC’s Northwest Engineering and Vehicle Technology Exchange (NEVTEX).

    “The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. So it is imperative that we transition away from gasoline-powered vehicles, which are fanning the flames of the crisis,” said Merkley. “Ensuring we have trained technicians is a critical part of the infrastructure we need to support the growing number of drivers choosing to go electric. This funding will put COCC in the driver’s seat for expanding and supporting this vital and growing sector.”

    “This major federal investment in Central Oregon Community College will generate big gains for students eager to be trained in the good-paying jobs that are growing as part of the green energy economy,” said Wyden, who as chair of the Senate Finance Committee worked to include new credits and incentives for EVs in the Inflation Reduction Act. “I’m gratified that COCC has earned these resources to build out EV technician training for Central Oregon. And I’ll keep battling to ensure every part of Oregon secures similar job training gains from our country’s clean energy future.”

    “Central Oregon Community College is grateful to receive this transformative award from the National Science Foundation and proud that it recognizes the leadership and expertise of our automotive faculty,” said COCC President Dr. Laurie Chesley. “Sens. Wyden and Merkley have always supported our college’s efforts to invest in a future-oriented workforce, and this award will expand upon this support by growing the impact of the NEVTEX Next consortium’s skilled EV technician training. The consortium, of which COCC’s faculty are essential founding members, will help 15 geographically and demographically diverse two-year colleges to broaden the EV workforce and meet the growing national need.”

    COCC is one of 15 two-year colleges who will develop EV technician programs under the NEVTEX Next consortium. The consortium will create and test a model for addressing the need to educate the EV skilled technician workforce through four objectives:

    • 15 new two-year college EV technician programs will be started and certified by providing professional development for instructors and supplying necessary testing equipment.
    • An advisory group will promote and sustain a national, industry-recognized EV certification for educators and technicians to advance standards-based EV certifications at two-year colleges and in the EV workforce.
    • Five college automotive instructors will gain the EV technology knowledge and skills required to be certified in the national EVPro+ training and testing standards, and equipment will be provided at their colleges to establish five authorized EVPro+ certification testing sites.
    • Consortium-wide training based on proven and successful strategies will enable automotive faculty to develop effective student recruitment and retention strategies to increase diversity in their programs by attracting and retaining women and underserved minorities.

    Source: U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley

  • Chief Automotive’s $75,000 In-Kind Donation Benefits Collision Schools Through CREF 

    CREF-Chief-Automotive-donation-collision-repair-schools

    Chief Automotive’s $75,000 In-Kind Donation Benefits Collision Schools Through CREF 

    PublishedFeb. 28, 2023

    Chief Automotive believes students need access to the right tools to learn how to become the best technicians they can be---and that’s exactly why it connected with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) to donate $75,000 worth of rivet guns and subscriptions, which will benefit collision repair educational programs around the country. 

    “Chief has been a supporter of schools all over the world for over 50 years. It has always been a core part of our business to support our future technicians,” said Mike Croker, director, product management for Chief Collision Technology. “With technician shortages being one of the big problem areas shops are dealing with, anything we can do to support them is critical. We have seen time and time again how supporting the schools pays off for shops and technicians. 

    "I personally went to a technical high school and college for collision repair, and I remember how vendors supporting the programs made a difference in the future careers of our students," Croker said. "It doesn’t matter if support is on a local level from local distributors, shop owners or other industry companies…or if it’s received at a national level. We need to challenge every stakeholder in the collision repair community to support the schools educating our future workforce.”

    The rivet guns donated by Chief will allow students to put their hands on some of the latest technology being used to repair late model vehicles. 

    “We have seen a huge change in attachment methods on new vehicles,” Croker pointed out. “Getting students this type of hands-on experience with the tools being used in modern repair methods allows them to be better prepared to handle the same equipment they will use in a collision center. Likewise, the software subscriptions, which are used in our structural 3D measuring systems, provides students with access to the latest vehicle specifications on the market while removing the burden from the schools’ annual budgets.”

    Collision education programs are frequently underfunded, limiting instructors’ ability to purchase the tools and equipment needed to effectively train their students. By partnering with the foundation, Chief Automotive is helping ensure the next generation of collision repair professionals receive the hands-on experience necessary to graduate with the skills they need to successfully join the industry as entry-level technicians. 

    “In-kind donations are often mentioned as one of the most relevant ways to help collision programs across the U.S.,” said CREF Director of Marketing and Project Management Amber Ritter. “This donation will truly allow students to learn, practice and hone the important skills that lead to rewarding careers. Equipping them with these rivet guns and also providing subscriptions to help educate them on using these tools will benefit many students, and the foundation is grateful to Chief Automotive for making that possible.”

    Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs can contact us to learn about the many ways to get involved. Monetary donations can be made online.

    Source: CREF

  • CIC Committees Tackle Ongoing Shortage of Collision Repair Technicians

    It’s not uncommon during discussions within the collision repair industry about the technician shortage for body shop representatives to point to what they see as the inadequate entry-level skills of students completing auto body training programs.

    Educators and others speaking at this spring’s Collision Industry Conference (CIC), however, offered their own perspectives on the issue.

    “We do not have a recruiting problem. We have a retention problem,” Virginia Oden, a trade and industrial education program specialist with Oklahoma Career Tech, said at the meeting held in Oklahoma City. “How we treat our employees is key. If you don’t provide them with opportunity, they will look elsewhere. They will tell you it’s because of the dollar. But people do not leave a job they love and where they feel appreciated. They leave because of management, period.”

    She said she has seen technical education teachers “work hard every day to instill the passion they have for this industry into those students, and then when they get out into the industry, they are treated terribly. They may leave your shop and go down the street to the next shop. But if they’re treated terribly at that shop, they will leave the industry.

    "They can get better work and better hours, with less hard labor, working at Amazon," Oden said. "So it’s important once we get them recruited and passionate about what we do, we’ve got to treat them with respect. It’s not about ‘kids today.’ It’s every single person who’s breathing. We all want to be treated with respect.”

    Speaking from the floor at CIC, Dane Rounkles of American Honda said he once went to a collision shop in the Southeast to visit a student interning there while completing the Honda Professional Automotive Career Training program at a local school.

    “He wasn’t there, and I asked, ‘Did he not show up?’” Rounkles said. “No, he was mowing the shop owner’s yard. When I spoke to the owner of the body shop about this, he said, ‘I had to pay my dues. They’ve got to pay theirs. As long as the school keeps sending people, I never have to mow my yard.’ My point: Do not assume these kids need to do what you and I did.”

    Bud Center, chairman of the CIC Talent Pool and Education Committee, said too often he hears shops and schools pointing to the other as the cause of the technician shortage.

    “There needs to be more conversation. People need to get on the same page,” Center said.

    To that end, the discussion at CIC included panelists sharing ideas about ways to improve the technician shortage. Oden said collision repair and other technical training programs in her state hold summer camps that give fifth and sixth grade students some exposure to the different programs. During eighth grade, students tour technical training programs in their area.

    “It’s all about planting seeds. It’s making students and parents and counselors aware of the opportunities that are out there,” Oden said. “At the same time, having done this for a while, the industry tends to want the fruit off the tree. They don’t want to help plant the seed to grow the tree. So they’re not involved in those summer camps and eighth grade visits and sophomore showcases. It’s like anything: If that student has seen your face, they become comfortable with you. You’re building that relationship. You’re starting that investment.”

    Amber Alley, manager of Barsotti’s Body & Fender in San Rafael, CA, has spoken at a number of past industry events about the success her shop has seen from its involvement with a local college taking part in a pilot project funded by the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation. The students in the two-year program rotate spending eight weeks at school, then eight weeks working in a shop.

    Amber Alley said part of solving the technician shortage requires a frank discussion about the impact of labor rates on what shops can pay technicians.
    Amber Alley said part of solving the technician shortage requires a frank discussion about the impact of labor rates on what shops can pay technicians.

    At CIC, Alley said she sees strong evidence of student interest in the trade.

    “I’ve done job fairs and that type of thing, and it’s not that people aren’t attracted to the industry,” Alley said. “It’s the presentation of the industry that they get once they come in.”

    Too often, she said, shops aren’t willing “to invest in people, and to offer them fair wages and a career path, because they’re scared that someone down the street is going  to give them a dollar more. But not everyone is going to make it at your shop. We all have to be willing to take the calculated risk of investing in someone. We can’t have the attitude that they need to prove themselves to us. We need to prove ourselves to them.”

    Oden agreed that offering a career path is essential to keep young people in the industry.

    “They want to know what those steps are: This is where you are going to start. This is the compensation package, and here’s how you grow that,” Oden said. “I can tell you: Every single student in our career tech programs wants to see that.”

    But at the same time, Alley said, the industry needs to have “a serious conversation” about what it will take for shops to pay competitive wages that attract and retain technicians in the industry.

    Bud Center of I-CAR said every shop owner needs to take personal action to address the technician shortage---or appoint someone in their business to do so.

    “None of this is going to matter if we can’t keep our doors open, if we can’t charge what the work costs, if you can’t pay the people what they need to earn to stay in the industry,” she said. “That needs to be a priority, having that conversation. We need to be big boys and girls about it, and be really serious…None of this is going to get solved unless we can pay people what their value is.”

    Center said when he asks shop owners what they are personally doing to help address the technician shortage and if they are involved with local schools, they often say they don’t have the time.

    “If you don’t have time as the owner or manager of a business in this industry to help solve this problem, who is going to do it? If you don’t have time, designate someone on your team to take that responsibility, and get this stuff done,” Center said. “Somebody has to take the lead.”

  • CIC Panel Addresses Technician Talent Pool

    speakers-on-stage

    CIC Panel Addresses Technician Talent Pool

    Written by John Yoswick, Autobody News
    Published
    Nov. 2, 2022

    A panel discussion at the Collision Industry Conference during the 2022 SEMA Show on Nov. 1 in Las Vegas, NV, focused on "talent pool” issues, with collision shop representatives---among others---sharing things they are doing to recruit, train and retain new employees.

    The CIC Governmental Committee discussed opportunities and challenges related to collision repair shops offering vehicle safety checks for consumers, including review and potential calibration of ADAS systems.

    John Yoswick of CRASH Network shared data from that publication’s "Insurer Report Card,” showing the reasons shops give some insurance companies’ claims practices a lower grade can be based more on the processes that insurer uses rather than payment-related concerns.

    The Society of Collision Repair Specialistsshared the results of its hands-on research into whether the blend formula typically used in the industry accurately reflects the difference between what is necessary to perform a full refinish on a panel and what is necessary to blend a panel to achieve a color match---it doesn’t synch up with the 50% of full refinish time formula.

    And Darrell Amberson of LaMettry’s Collision was honored for his work as chairman of CIC in 2021 and 2022; incoming chairman Frank Terlep said he welcomes input from the industry as he starts his leadership term for the conference.

    A full recap of the Collision Industry Conference will be printed in the December 2022 issue of Autobody News.

  • College Grad Found Car Repair Passion After Overcoming Homelessness

    Benjamin-Hart-El-Cajon-CA-auto-repair

    College Grad Found Car Repair Passion After Overcoming Homelessness

    Written by Natay Holmes, ABC 10News
    Published
    June 5, 2023

    The auto industry is in need of more technicians, and Cuyamaca College in El Cajon, CA, is helping steer students in that direction through its auto technology program. The program works with partners, like GMand Ford, to get students into auto body shops and gain real-world experience outside of the classroom.

    Of course, the college also has shops on campus where students can get hands-on experience.

    ABC 10News spoke to a non-traditional college student who took advantage of this program; he's older and a father of four, but he used the knowledge gained from the program to open his own business.

    "As a mechanic, I can go anywhere and I can have a job the next day," Benjamin Hart said.

    Unscrewing one lug nut at a time, Hart said fixing cars has become his passion.

    "It's very hard to find a shop that you're comfortable with and where people are going to be really transparent with you," he said.

    Cuyamaca College's auto technology program helped Hart find the tools he needed to open his own business in 2020. The program trains students to fix a variety of systems that exist in a car.

    "We have students who have never opened the hood of a car, all the way to students who already do it for a living. They just want updated training because of technology and automotive--I mean---it changes consistently," one of the instructors told 10News.

    "It's been a ton of information. There's so much to learn about cars," Hart said.

    The program draws a lot of students who are already working in the auto industry.

    "I started my associate degree as a full-time employee at a shop at Smitty Service on Adams, working 12 hours a day from 5:30 in the morning till 5:30 at night and taking classes from 6 to 10 in the evening," Hart said.

    Even before enrolling in classes, Hart's road to getting his degree wasn't easy: He had to combat homelessness and addiction years ago.

    "I was street homeless for almost 10 years. It got to a point where my alcoholism had become a factor in my health... I was dying, and it was a time to make a decision," he says.

    On June 8, Hart will be the commencement speaker for his class at the graduation. He said "proud" isn't the word to describe his accomplishments. He said he just wants to keep striving for the best for his family and business, TBH Complete Auto Care.

    "For TBH Complete Auto Care to be the gold standard of automotive service---to say 'Hey, those guys are gonna steer me right. Those guys are gonna make sure I'm safe. Those guys are gonna keep me on the road,'" he said.

    Once his business is fully off the ground, Hart wants to continue his education at UC San Diego and get a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.

    We thank ABC 10News for reprint permission.

  • Collision Engineering Program Announces 7th School

    Collision-Engineering-Program-Parkland-College-Champaign-IL-Enterprise-Ford

    Collision Engineering Program Announces 7th School

    PublishedMay 2, 2023

    The Enterprise Holdings Foundation and Ford Motor Company Fund announced the Parkland College Automotive Collision Repair Program in Champaign, IL, has been selected as the seventh school to offer the industry-leading Collision Engineering Program (CEP).

    The program expansion is made possible through the cross-industry partnership between the two automotive leaders announced in January.

    More than 110,000 new collision technicians are needed between 2022 and 2026, according to the TechForce Foundation, a national nonprofit. The CEP is a two-year apprenticeship model, founded by the Enterprise Holdings Foundation and Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, to attract and develop entry-level talent to fill essential roles within the industry. To provide the most up-to-date training available, learning is conducted both in classroom settings, as well as via apprenticeships in modern collision repair facilities, all while students earn their associate degree.

    This unique model provides students the opportunity to earn an income while completing their training. For employers to participate in the program, sponsorship is required. In Champaign, seven local employers, including leading national MSOs, have already signed up to partner with CEP and provide apprenticeships to Parkland CEP students.

    “Parkland College is re-engaging the collision repair community through a newly designed apprenticeship technician training program," said Jon Ross, Parkland College department chair for applied sciences and technologies. "Technician training today requires a different approach utilizing extensive resources from the industry. Our partnership with the Collision Engineering Program has been invaluable in connecting Parkland and our students to these industry resources.

    “Barriers to student enrollment can be significantly reduced when industry and education work together," Ross continued. "Parkland is committed to serving our employer partners by adapting to changing industry training needs and joining CEP’s network of training centers gives us the opportunity to collaborate with its network and grow the collision repair industry together.”

    Parkland College currently has a Ford ASSET Program, a two-year program supporting the demand for entry-level service technicians with certifications from Ford. Additionally, its proximity to several collision repair facilities, MSOs and Ford’s manufacturing plant in Chicago makes Parkland College a great school for the program. Expanding the CEP model to Parkland students offers a significant opportunity to revitalize collision repair across the region.

    Support from the Ford Fund will offer Parkland CEP students access to scholarships and will cover program startup costs, instructor training, school equipment such as lab materials, and student-centered resources such as toolkits, uniforms, PPE, certifications, tuition assistance and assessments. Enrollment for the Parkland College Automotive Collision Repair Program is now open with classes beginning in fall 2023. 

    “The skills needed to obtain and retain jobs are evolving rapidly, and high-quality collision repair careers are in demand. Ford Fund is proud to partner with organizations committed to removing roadblocks and prioritizing student resource needs to become tomorrow's collision repair professionals,” said Ford Motor Company Fund Economic Mobility Director Mike Schmidt. “The CEP program at Parkland College takes an exciting earn-as-you-learn approach to prepare students for career readiness. Together we're building a support system around student needs, from access to scholarship opportunities to modern collision engineering facilities and tools.”

    In addition to Parkland College, the CEP model is offered at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, MO; College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL; Contra Costa College in San Pablo, CA; Collin College in Allen, TX; Texas State Technical College in Waco, TX; and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, NE.

    “The addition of Parkland College is another important step in increasing access to quality collision engineering education for more students across the country,” said Enterprise Holdings Vice President Mary Mahoney. “We’re extremely grateful to be partnering with the Ford Motor Company through its philanthropic arm, the Ford Fund, to show how working together across our industry can make a meaningful difference in tackling the worker shortage and skills gap.”

    For more information about the Collision Engineering Program, visit www.beacollisionengineer.com

    Source: Enterprise Holdings Foundation and Ford Motor Company Fund

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