This fall, the Montana Collision Repair Association (MCRA) announced its partnership with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) to support the state’s only collision repair training program at Montana State University (MSU) – Billings City College.
MCRA President Paul Flores stated, “The MSU-Billings Collision Program is the only post-secondary automobile collision repair and refinishing program available in the state of Montana. The collision repair industry is in a unique era of growth, consolidation, and advancement in technology. At the same time, the industries talent pool lacks the volume to support the extensive personnel needs of collision repair facilities.”
MCRA offers its support of MSU-Billings’ auto collision repair and refinishing program through an endowment program that grants scholarships to students pursuing a career in the collision repair industry.
“MCRA believes it is important to find diverse ways to provide support for industry programs like the one provided by MSU-Billings,” Flores explained. “Support is provided through the endowment, but also through efforts to bring attention to the multitude of career opportunities that exist in the collision repair industry. By attending job/career fairs and working with Montana high schools, we can bring positive attention to the automobile collision repair and refinishing program at MSU-Billings.”
The association has also hosted fundraisers in support of the school’s collision repair training program in addition to participating in and donating to fundraising events held by the administrators of the program. At a Board meeting earlier this year, MCRA Vice President Matthew McDonnell pointed out all of CREF’s great efforts around the country, and the Board voted to team up with CREF to grow resources and financial support for the MSU-Billings program.
“CREF has provided tremendous support through its outreach abilities and by bringing corporate sponsorships to the MSU-Billings Program to provide much-needed facility improvements and financial contributions,” Flores said.
In the September release announcing the partnership, Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for CREF, said, “Through the generous support of sponsors and the local collision industry we hope to help MSU-Billings students receive the education they need to succeed in the collision industry.”