Tuesday, 27 February 2018 11:31

New Women’s Group Focuses on Attracting Students to Collision Repair Industry

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WAC’s official kick-off meeting on Feb. 6 attracted 13 individuals as the group unveiled its name and logo. WAC’s official kick-off meeting on Feb. 6 attracted 13 individuals as the group unveiled its name and logo.

Women in Auto and Collision (WAC) is a new industry group formed this year, and while you may not have heard of it yet, the group is gaining momentum quickly as it seeks to spread awareness of the many industry opportunities available.

WAC is focusing on middle school students all the way up to post-secondary students.


Shelly Jones of ABRA Auto Body and Glass had taken the reins prior to the election of officers.


“It’s hard for me to believe the response that this group is getting,” Jones said. “Women are being referred to us by other industry groups, by paint suppliers, by parts suppliers and by word-of-mouth. It’s amazing.”


WAC’s current mission is “passionate women in the automotive industry collaborating and leading members to create industry career awareness with middle school students and their parents.” The female-led group plans to teach students about the opportunities in the automotive and collision industries from a young age as they seek to attract the next generation into the industry.


With only two meetings under its belt, WAC has already generated support from MV-TAP and AASP-MO, and it has begun planning activities to generate awareness of career opportunities in the industry, such as career fairs, mentoring programs and fundraising campaigns, among others.


WAC’s first meeting took place on Jan. 10 when eight women and two men gathered to discuss the concept of a women-led industry group and to establish its mission. They next met on Feb. 6 at ATI in Fenton, MO, for the group’s official kick-off meeting, at which time 13 people discussed the technical aspects of forming the group and started building teams to accomplish the tasks identified. The group’s official name and logo were unveiled, and they also shared their Facebook group, Women in Automotive and Collision, as they discussed branding the group. WAC also held a small group set-up team meeting on Feb. 20 to compare establishing itself as a nonprofit organization to the alternatives.


WAC will hold its next meeting on March 13 at ATI. Two members of the group, Sheena Wagner and Jess Crump with Meramec Heights Collision, have volunteered to provide dinner for this meeting.


According to Jones, “We will determine the organizational structure, elect officers, discuss a trivia night fundraiser and talk about making a small change to our mission statement. I’ll propose that we remove the words ‘middle school’ to avoid limiting ourselves---knowing that 6th--8th grade students will still be our primary focus.”


RSVP to SJones@abraauto.com by March 6 for WAC’s next meeting, or visit Women in Automotive and Collision on Facebook to get involved with the group.