Over 19 automotive collision industry businesses and organizations came together at the Technical College High School (TCHS) Brandywine Campus, in Downingtown, PA, on May 8 for the fifth annual Auto Collision Experience (ACE).
Students were able to network with potential employers and participate in demonstrations that highlighted some of the latest technology available in the industry. Over 400 students from 17 technical high schools throughout the region attended this free event to learn about various career pathways the industry has to offer.
Dave Purdy, assistant principal at TCHS Brandywine Campus, who has been involved with ACE since it started in 2015, said ACE helps students get a bigger picture of the industry. “There are so many career path options for students that I believe there is really something for each of them. From sales to marketing and beyond, this event allows them to see how they can fit and grow over time in the industry,” said Purdy.
One of the unique features of ACE is that it gives industry partners access to students with skills that are in high demand. Dean Benner, manager for 3D Auto Body and industry partner for ACE, notes that this event is unique in its ability to bring an entire industry together with educational partners to help students all across the region.
“I was involved last year and this year. It’s amazing how industry and education partners pull ACE off and how much the ACE planning committee strives to provide for the kids. TCHS works really hard to get students employed in the auto collision field. And, it’s not just Chester County students; it’s students in the greater Philadelphia area. ACE is pretty amazing,” said Benner.
The auto collision industry is rapidly growing and is projected to grow 9 percent over the next seven years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With such large growth projected, employers in the region rely on ACE to help find the next generation of auto collision employees.
Students who attended the event were given the opportunity to interview with industry partners and were then evaluated using a rubric. Students received their rubrics after the event to better gauge their interviewing skills.