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Friday, 01 March 2019 17:54

Women in Automotive & Collision Holds Feb. Meeting at North County Tech

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 Jason Buchheit, collision instructor, presents to WAC members during their Feb. 19 meeting at North County Tech. Jason Buchheit, collision instructor, presents to WAC members during their Feb. 19 meeting at North County Tech.

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Women in Automotive and Collision (WAC) held its first lunch meeting on Feb.19 at North County Technical High School in Florissant, MO. The school’s collision instructor, Jason Buchheit, hosted the meeting.

 

According to WAC President Shelly Jones, “The attendance was good for our first lunch meeting, so we will alternate lunch and dinner meetings every other month this year.

 

“Mr. Buchheit shared information about the school's transportation program, which includes automotive and collision programs. In attendance were WAC members, North Tech Principal Wallace, eight students from Mr. Buchheit's senior class and representatives of companies that sponsor the group. That's a perfect mix of industry collaborating with students and educators. It will take a group effort to get the word out.”

 

WAC members discussed the group’s initiatives for 2019 and announced they will close their Facebook group to focus on their Facebook page: Facebook.com/WACstl.

 

Sponsorship is another important initiative for 2019. WAC Secretary Kelle Oeste has begun announcing the association’s new sponsors on the Facebook page to thank them and introduce them to WAC’s followers. WAC Vice President Jess Crump has been adding sponsors to the new website.

 

Jones shared, “We have included a corporate membership with most sponsorship levels. A corporate membership allows one person from a sponsoring company to participate in meetings and events. This membership follows the company and not the individual. Individual membership follows the person and is $50.”

 

WAC’s primary focus is “to engage young people with an interactive booth at job fairs and other events,” Jones explained. “We will also continue to look for opportunities to speak with parents and educators.”

 

On Feb. 22, Jones and WAC Treasurer Julie Hemann presented to educators at St. Louis Community College during a panel on recruiting women into nontraditional occupations. The panel took place at the Shaping the Talent of Tomorrow conference, hosted by the St. Louis School – Business Partnership.


 

According to Jones, “Around 75 educators from St. Louis County schools attended the conference, and nearly all schools were represented. The opportunity fits our WAC mission perfectly. Not only were there educators in attendance, but also representatives from other large organizations. While there, Julie and I had conversations with representatives from Ameren, Project Lead the Way and Girl Scouts of the USA. There will be follow-up meetings to learn how we can work together to engage female students in the automotive industry.”

 

During the SkillsUSA contest hosted by Ranken Technical College, WAC member Gene Slattery and WAC sponsor coordinator Sheena Wagner, who is a parent of a Ranken collision student, promoted the association and assisted by interviewing students in the competition.

 

WAC’s next membership meeting will be held on March 19 at 5:30 p.m.

 

Jones shared, “We have many job fairs and a car show to attend in the next couple of months, plus WAC members are working on setting up road trips to vo-tech schools outside of the St. Louis area. The goal would be to learn about their automotive programs and how we can help encourage more students to seek jobs in the industry.

 

“Followers of our Facebook page will start seeing potential events posted with a request for WAC members to sign up if they would like to work the event on behalf of WAC. People within the industry may see these events posted and decide to have their company participate as well. Imagine the impact of not only having a WAC booth at a middle school job fair but also 10+ industry-related companies. Now that would make quite a statement!”

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