With the average technician age approaching 50, shops and other collision repair industry businesses are in desperate need of qualified entry-level staff to fill positions as technicians age out.
The industry has a major problem, but by supporting the schools that educate future collision repair employees, the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) offers the solution.
CREF is a nonprofit organization that facilitates the industry’s generosity by investing in collision repair educational programs around the country, helping equip school shops and funding student scholarships, among many other endeavors that serve to attract, properly train and retain more qualified collision professionals.
Since 2009, CREF has been able to provide more than $300 million in support to schools and students through the industry’s donations.
Supporting CREF’s initiatives is a lot easier---and less time-consuming---than industry professionals often realize. Because collision educational programs are frequently underfunded, instructors’ biggest needed are used parts, especially fenders, hoods and bumper covers---just like the ones discarded by shops every day.
Most programs rely on older vehicle parts to train their students; without being able to learn on current model vehicles, students do not receive the education necessary to become a useful and productive entry-level technician after graduation.
Schools also need updated tools and equipment to ensure students are learning on the same technology they’ll be using at their future shop, and when a shop upgrades, CREF can help identify a local school in need.
Industry supporters can also promote the industry’s professionalism by sponsoring student uniforms, which include a company logo.
Monetary donations help CREF fund school grants and student scholarships, and in addition to donations being tax-deductible, donors can feel...