The new grant program, funded by 3M, will provide two collision schools in markets where 3M has facilities with $10,000 each to support the advancement of their programs. The local 3M community will also work to help the schools that receive the grant.
The two schools that will receive the grant include:
- Greenville Technical College, a CREF Benchmark Tier 1 school in Greenville, S.C.; and
- South Central College, a CREF Benchmark Tier 2 school in North Mankato, MN.
The grant funds will be used to pay for tools and equipment to enhance the training opportunities they provide to the next generation of collision industry professionals studying in the schools. The grant will enable South Central College to achieve the CREF Benchmark Tier 1 status.
“We are excited about this opportunity to continue our support of CREF and the communities in which 3M has a large presence,” said Kelly Lunder, U.S. channel marketing manager for the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “We are committed to career and technical education and advancement for the men and women enrolled in these programs.”
“The grants available to these two schools will provide funds needed to help these colleges advance their collision programs to meet the needs of the collision industry’s future workforce,” said Melissa Marscin, director of operations and administration for the Foundation. “I want to thank 3M for working with the Foundation to enhance these programs as they prepare students to enter the industry with the training necessary to succeed.”
The Foundation’s Collision School Career Readiness Benchmark was launched in 2017. Under the program developed by the Foundation, schools are classified into three tiers:
- Tier 1: Advanced,
- Tier 2: Proficient, or
- Tier 3: Developing.
The designation is determined by the Foundation based upon information provided by schools about the capabilities of their program detailed in the CREF Benchmark grant application. The criteria for each level includes the number of hours of instruction, curriculum in place, along with what tools, equipment and supplies a school uses to prepare their students for employment in the collision industry.
If there is something that a school needs to advance to the next level, the Education Foundation’s grant programs allow schools to request that particular item. The goal is to help every school acquire the resources to eventually achieve a Tier 1: Advanced school designation. Schools already at Tier 1 status, like Greenville Technical College, can request support for items that further advance and expand their program.
Industry members interested in joining the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s roster of supporters to assist high school and post-secondary collision school programs and students should contact Brandon Eckenrode, director of development, at (312) 231-0258 or Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org