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Friday, 17 November 2017 19:49

CTEC in OR Adds Collision Repair Program with Modern Equipment

Written by Victoria Antonelli


The Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) in Salem, OR, added collision repair to its roster in August 2017 as part of the school’s initial expansion plan. 

CTEC, which opened three years ago, has been adding two programs per year, and will reach its goal of 10 programs in 2019. 

“We have a partnership between Mountain West Investments, a private company, and Salem-Keizer Public School District, which consists of six to seven high schools in the area,” explained Terry Wilson, collision repair instructor at CTEC. “We take juniors and seniors only.”

Wilson explained that these students have to be on target to graduate and must maintain passing grades in their other courses as well.

“The cool part about the students we get over here is their high maturity level and their desire to really be a part of this program,” he added.

Wilson said all the programs, which include construction, home building and cosmetology, meet under one roof in a 150,000-square-foot warehouse. Each section is delegated roughly 10,000 square feet of work space. 

“When our students come in, they are with us the whole day,” said Wilson. “We have three core subjects that they are responsible for taking every day here too---English, Science and Electronics.”

Wilson explained that the knowledge the students in his classes gain from these three subjects will directly relate to collision repair.


“In their English courses, whether they’re doing research or writing papers, they’ll learn how to articulate what they’re taught here,” he said. “The vocabulary they’re learning is completely shop-related and goes hand-in-hand with the auto collision business.” 

As for the science courses, students will be taught physics and chemistry as they are related to the industry. 

“In physics, they’ll learn crush zones and everything to do with crashes,” Wilson explained. “Then in year two, students take chemistry and get deep into the chemical reactions on body fillers, paints, and other products.”

In the electronics courses, students will learn about sensor diagnostics and how to communicate with cars using computers. 

“We have the latest and greatest scan tools,” added Wilson. 

For their paint courses, CTEC utilizes a state-of-the-art ventilation mixing room, paint booth, and prep booth from Accudraft.

“We can have up to five students in the booth painting at one time,” said Wilson. “As far as technology goes, the Accudraft prep paint booth and mixing stations are second to none.”

He added that their equipment has all the heating capabilities with a full down draft set up.

“We’ve also hooked up with PPG, so I’ve been training with them,” Wilson said. “We’d like to get PPG down here for some student trainings as well.”

CTEC uses PPG’s DBC line for their solvents and Envirobase for their water-based paints. “PPG has also installed their new TOUCHMIX® Computerized Paint Mixing System, which I’m super proud of,” said Wilson. 

Wilson added that the collision repair program also acquired 25 SATA paint guns. 

“When students are divided into smaller groups, each crew will have five SATA guns to work with, which to me is just phenomenal,” said Wilson.

He added that the students also have a room stocked with 3M products. 

“All of the gear the students need, including safety gear, they’re provided with,” Wilson said. 

As far as training programs, Wilson said CTEC recently registered with I-CAR.

“This year, the students will take a series of tests, and then next year, they’ll have an actual class study before taking the exam,” he explained. “The beautiful thing about these partnerships is that our partners pay for all of the kids to get these certifications, so they’re leaving with this cost-free.”

When students graduate from the two-year program, they will have earned I-CAR's Platinum™ certification. 

Although the program’s main focus is collision repair, Wilson said the students will also do some metal fabrication work. 

“We have a ‘37 Lincoln Zephyr that the collision repair program and 3D animation program are working on together,” said Wilson. “The 3D animation students have been taking a lot of pictures and measurements of the Zephyr, so they can sketch it out.”From there, Wilson said the 3D animation students will draw on custom touches in real-scale, while the collision repair students decide on a paint formula.

“Then the 3D animation students will ‘paint’ the vehicle, so we’ll have a full drawing of the finished product,” explained Wilson. “The collision repair students will then be able to build this car, so it will be an ongoing project, but a really cool one.” 

Right now, there are 51 students in the collision repair program at CTEC.

“We’re a two-year program, but since this is year one, we only have half the students,” Wilson said. “At full capacity, we’ll have 100 students set up on A and B days; 50 students on one day and 50 on the next.”

Out of the 51 students, six are female.

“Our goal is to at least double that number by next year, if not more,” said Wilson. “The girls we have in here now are super talented and hard workers.”

Wilson estimates about 12 of his 51 students will be dedicated enough to compete in the SkillsUSA competitions. 

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