CREF Awards $235,000 in Scholarships, Tool Grants to Collision Repair Students

For the first time, more than two-thirds of the recipients are women and minorities.

CREF-scholarships-2024

The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) announced more than $235,000 in scholarships and tool grants have been awarded to 90 students nationwide, funded through the generosity of industry partners.

For the first time, more than two-thirds of the recipients are women and minorities, signifying a move towards a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

“CREF is honored to recognize these outstanding students through the 2024 scholarships and tool grants,” said Melissa Marscin, director of operations and administration for CREF. “We were thrilled to receive applications from a greater diversity of students than we’ve ever seen in the past, all of whom have demonstrated their commitment to pursuing their educations and becoming part of the collision industry. We hope these awards help contribute to their successful careers, strengthening the industry by bringing in new perspectives.”

Seven students received the prestigious Adelmann Family Scholarships, each worth $10,000. These scholarships, established by retired industry veteran Tim Adelmann, aim to support students at a higher level and leave a lasting impact on the industry.

3M awarded $40,000 in scholarships and tool grants through two separate initiatives. The Hire Our Heroes grants are open to collision repair students who currently serve, or recently served, in the U.S. military; this year, 11 veterans received grants of $1,500 each. An additional 10 students received $2,500 CREF scholarships.

The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) collaborated with CREF to administer 30 scholarships specifically for women aspiring to enter the collision repair industry. These awards included tool kits valued at $500 and tuition scholarships of $500 or $2,500.

The PPG Foundation funded more than $30,000 in scholarships and tool kits, including $3,000 scholarships for seven students with a special interest in the painting segment of the collision repair industry.

LKQ donated $10,000 toward scholarships and tool grants in 2024, benefiting eight students.

Four outstanding students received $2,500 scholarships from the JW Bagley Foundation, a non-industry entity that supports CREF’s mission.

Three more students recieved a CCC Michael Salvatore Repair Technician Scholarship, valued at $3,000 each.

Erie Insurance donated $8,000, which CREF awarded to four students -- a $2,000 tool kit for one, and $2,000 scholarships for three more.

The Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings, funded a $5,000 scholarship for one student.

I-CAR's Lon Baudoux Memorial Scholarship was created to honor Baudoux, an I-CAR development manager who passed away in 2008, in recognition of the importance he placed on secondary and post-secondary collision repair students receiving a proper education. Two students received scholarships of $2,000.

AASP-IL funded $2,000 scholarships to assist with two students’ tuition costs, the CREF Board of Trustees awarded two $1,000 tool grants, and one student received a $1,000 tool kit through the Sulkala Family Scholarship, created to honor Chuck Sulkala, founder and executive director of the National Auto Body Council (NABC), who retired in 2018.

Finally, one student received the second annual $1,000 Jeff Silver Memorial Scholarship, established in 2022 to honor the memory of Silver, a respected trailblazer and leader in industry repair standards.

This year's recipients come from a wide range of educational institutions across the country. More than one-third of the recipients identify as female, and nearly half reported a race other than Caucasian. A quarter of the students who received support in 2024 listed their race as Hispanic or Latino. The diversity seen among this year’s applicants can largely be attributed to CREF’s collaboration with WIN to administer its annual scholarships.

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