The program has received a $1,000 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Grant from the Collision Repair Education Foundation. The announcement was made in late October at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The money will be available in January.
High school and college auto collision programs undergo a rigorous application process to be considered for the grants.
Clint Campbell, TSTC's statewide auto collision and management technology chair, said it took two months to complete the application, which included information on the program's budget and student job placement, as well as recommendations from industry representatives.
"It's a good deal for the program," Campbell said. "It makes sure you are doing things correctly and for the right reasons."
Campbell said it is critical to the auto collision industry to not only teach students how to repair dents and paint, but also how to use technology to reset collision avoidance systems being built for new vehicle models. Securing grants to purchase new equipment enables the program faculty to use money in areas where it is most needed.
John McIntyre, 33, and Blake McIntyre, 28, both of San Angelo, are working toward auto collision refinishing certificates and are scheduled to graduate next summer.
The brothers chose to attend TSTC to learn techniques to use for a restoration shop they want to open in their hometown after graduation. They want to purchase older models of trucks, rehabilitate them and sell them at automotive auctions.
"Automotives are a passion," John said.
Blake said he had an extra source of motivation for pursuing the certificate: He had been dissatisfied with past automotive paint jobs. He said his favorite class so far has been Automotive Plastic and Sheet Molded Compound Repair.
TSTC in Waco has about 90 students pursuing the program's associate degrees and certificates.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.