On Sept. 18, Women in Automotive and Collision (WAC) hosted their monthly meeting at Automotive Technology Institute (ATI), one of the organization’s golf sponsors.
WAC President Shelly Jones stated, “ATI has a great meeting space for a round table discussion versus a formal meeting. Everyone was engaged in conversation which led to fun ideas and new initiatives.”
During the meeting, Jones provided a recap of WAC’s efforts and successes since the association formed in 2018. She explained, “Our mission is to promote careers in the industry and to get in front of students, parents, and educators that may not know what our industry has to offer. I shared that, in 2019, we are doing even more to promote the industry, including reaching out to other organizations and inviting guest speakers to our meetings. Through these associations and introductions, I believe that we have made some connections that have the potential to help us achieve our mission on a much larger scale - we’ve met people that are opening doors that I never knew existed! Besides being great connections for our organization, we are learning that they are a benefit to our members and their companies.”
Earlier in 2019, Jones and Julie Hemann represented WAC at a St. Louis School-Business Partnership workshop where they gave a presentation on the opportunities for women in the collision repair industry to representatives from all the schools in St. Louis. From there, they were introduced to Project Lead the Way (PLTW), DESE and Skills USA who asked Jones to be an industry panelist at their state competition this past spring.
In August, WAC hosted Ashley Benne of PLTW to be a guest speaker at an association meeting, and the organization has, in turn, invited Jones to attend a launch event at an area school to see how they start their programs. Since PLTW does not currently offer an automotive or collision curriculum, WAC is starting conversations in hopes of creating a pilot program. Jones shared, “My vision is that every middle and high school will have an elective that is industry related.”