There are many industry partners who offer varying levels of assistance in these endeavors, and the Enterprise Holdings Foundation stands out as a partner dedicated to CREF’s initiatives to ensure collision repair students receive the education necessary to successfully enter the industry as entry-level technicians. The Enterprise Holdings Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings, which, through its integrated global network of independent regional subsidiaries and franchises, operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.
Christen Battaglia, Director of Strategic Partnerships for CREF, stated, “In addition to receiving donations from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, CREF enjoys a lot of support from local Enterprise employees who volunteer to facilitate various events. The Enterprise Holdings Foundation and Enterprise employees truly excel at supporting CREF’s goals at both the local and national level.”
CREF has far-reaching goals and ongoing endeavors spread across the country. As a result, collision repair industry professionals have many options for demonstrating their support of CREF and its efforts to enhance the educational experience of collision repair students across the country.
One way to get involved with CREF is joining a local I-CAR Committee. Glenn J. Zeldin, Replacement Rental Director for Enterprise in Chandler, Ariz., has been with the company for nearly 30 years and started attending local I-CAR Committee meetings in 2000. He became more involved with CREF seven years later when he joined the committee’s board of directors as the Vice Chair of Marketing. “Between golf tournaments, Recycled Rides events, the skills challenge and local career fairs, I’ve participated in around 50 events that benefit CREF,” Zeldin stated. “I’ve also helped students get to national events and assisted local schools in submitting scholarship applications.”
In Boston, Mass., Enterprise Replacement Rental Director Amy Blair has worked for the company since graduating college over 16 years ago. She also learned about CREF through her involvement with her local I-CAR Committee and currently serves as Vice Chair for the Massachusetts I-CAR Committee. “I-CAR’s goal is to create more industry awareness, especially at the career and technical level, and encourage organizations to work together to spread the word about the great opportunities available in the collision repair industry.”
Gary S. Jefferson, Replacement Rental Director for Enterprise in Chicago, Ill., and a 26-year company veteran, became involved with CREF 15 years ago. Over the years, he has supported dozens of CREF events, including golf outings, career fairs and a variety of industry meetings. “Getting involved with CREF was a simple decision to make, because we should all support the collision repair industry,” he said. “There is a shortage of technicians in the automotive industry. When I talk to collision shops, the number one challenge is people,” Jefferson continued. “We need to make the investment so this industry can continue to attract and retain talent. Doing so is important for the future of the collision industry.”
Working with students is a rewarding experience for Blair who enjoys helping to educate them on the industry, as well as the opportunities available with Enterprise. “There’s a lot of awareness that needs to be brought to the younger generation around getting involved in collision and mechanical repairs,” she said. “Right now, there aren’t enough people who want to work in collision repair, and we need to attract them into this industry. We’re off to a great start by working with CREF, where we’ve been able to get funding for new floors in local schools and have already done so much at the local level. I truly feel that we are impacting the community and the people we know, and that’s a great feeling.”
CREF is grateful for the support it receives from Enterprise employees at the local level, and Zeldin, Blair and Jefferson also express gratitude to CREF for its invaluable role in the industry. According to Zeldin, “What the Collision Repair Education Foundation does is vital for the industry. CREF helps collision students become capable, qualified technicians by supporting schools in local communities. They provide grants, tools, and I-CAR training for classrooms.”
The Collision Repair Education Foundation, founded in 1991, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting collision repair educational programs, schools, and students to create qualified, entry-level employees and connect them with an array of career opportunities. For information on how to donate to programs supported by the Education Foundation visit us online at: www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org.