Samantha McCauley, a collision repair refinish instructor at Hammond High School in Hammond, IN, said it can be very challenging to acquire the proper tools and equipment needed in her classroom to properly instruct students.
“There are a lot of times that I request equipment and I’m sure other teachers across the country are in the same predicament,” she said. “Our administration says to put our requisition forms in; every week for months, we follow up to find out what happened to the requisition forms only to find out the funds are already gone.”
McCauley recently received a special gift to help alleviate that frustration.
During the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Indianapolis, Toby Chess presented McCauley with two toolboxes, one for her own needs and the other for her students to use. The toolboxes were awarded on behalf of the March Taylor Scholarship Fund.
“I truly appreciate what you are doing and so will the students,” said McCauley.
She encouraged CIC attendees and the industry to get involved with students as much as possible—whether that’s speaking to them about the collision repair trade or offering tours—and show them the possibilities available.
“Right now, everyone in the industry recognizes the need to draw more students into the collision repair field,” said Chess. “We need more young men and women. The question is: ‘How do you attract them?’”
Through his work in the collision repair industry and with the March Taylor Memorial Fund, Chess has found a way to support the industry and reach students who will potentially fill the jobs of the future.
“The biggest problem is when you are getting an entry-level technician coming into your shop and they don’t have tools,” said Chess.
To help address this challenge, Chess has reached out to tool and equipment companies across the country as well as body shops requesting monetary and in-kind donations. The donations are then used to purchase tools and toolboxes for collision repair students and teachers. In addition to the two McCauley received, six individuals were awarded toolboxes at the June CIC in Nashville, TN, on behalf of the March Taylor Memorial Fund.