I-CAR committee volunteers are also asked to identify one CTE (Career and Technical Education) school in their market that doesn’t already utilize I-CAR’s Professional Development Program (PDP)-Education Edition. Currently, 673 out of the approximately 1,000 career and technical schools in the U.S. are part of the I-CAR program, which was established in 2010 and formed to train collision repair professionals in essential role-relevant knowledge and skills.
The objective is to promote the PDP curriculum within the school, as well as initiate conversations about the technician shortage and the value of training technicians the “right” way.
“Our belief is that the right way is through the professional development program with specific roles identified and training delivered by that role,” explained Notte.
Ultimately, I-CAR would like to incorporate the PDP program into every career and technical school so technicians can be prepared to work when they graduate.
Committee volunteers also raise funds for CREF and secure donations of tools and equipment for career and technical schools. This year, each committee has been asked to complete one special event to support local schools, which can be held in coordination with any industry-related supplier or CREF.
Notte said these in-kind donations, such as welders, safety goggles and tools, make a significant difference because students are able to learn using the most recent equipment.
Often, collision repair instructors find that many students get discouraged when they are learning how to repair vehicles the way they were fixed 20 years ago.
“Most of those cars just aren’t on the road anymore,” said Notte. “When it comes time to fix the high-tech cars of today, they don’t see those come into the school.”
To help address this, some OEMs have donated brand new automobiles to these schools, so the students can see the technology first-hand and learn how to repair the vehicles.
“When you are talking about a young kid who is going to work on either the latest car coming down the pike or a 20-25-year-old vehicle, they get a lot more excited about working on that high-tech car,” said Notte.