I-CAR Steps Up Efforts to Recruit, Educate New Collision Repair Techs

I-CAR has recently enhanced CollisionCareers.com, launched a new training program and leveled up its participation in SkillsUSA.

I-CAR is supporting this year's SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference, happening June 24-28 in Atlanta, GA.

June is Automotive Service Professionals month, and to celebrate, I-CAR has announced several new or increased efforts to attract and train new collision repair technicians.


In 2023, I-CAR launched Collision Careers, in collaboration with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), to provide resources for students and career changers interested in joining the industry.

Recently, I-CAR announced an enhanced version of the program’s website, CollisionCareers.com. The updated site now includes highly sought after career path details and downloadable resources for parents, educators and school advisors, as well as a new, engaging video to better serve the collision repair industry in attracting and retaining skilled collision repair technicians.

The evolved website and new video feature real, working technicians and students who demonstrate that today’s professionals work in a clean, safe, cutting-edge environment. The website also houses information outlining career paths, descriptions for different roles within the industry, a search for accredited shops and schools and career guidance tools to illustrate the importance of a career in this field. Additionally, the website connects technician candidates with schools, industry partners and potential employers. 

“The response to the launch of our Collision Careers platform and website last year was so positive, we immediately began building new features and adding resources to the platform to support the industry, individuals, and influencers that all help bring new talent to collision repair,” said John Van Alstyne, CEO and president of I-CAR. “We are dedicated to continuously enhancing and updating our talent attraction services for the industry, ensuring aspiring technicians can easily connect with top schools and shops to begin their careers.”

The Collision Careers program was honored in 2023 with a SEMA Global Media Award, recognizing the program’s outstanding efforts in attracting new talent to the collision repair industry. 

New Early Career Technician Program: I-CAR Academy

The new I-CAR Academy is an educational program that includes a revolutionary entry-level collision repair curriculum for both career and technical schools and collision repair centers.

I-CAR Academy is the first industry-neutral, comprehensive early career program designed specifically to attract, train and retain technicians, and recognize the schools and repair centers training new entrants.

Available to schools now for the 2024-2025 academic year, I-CAR Academy will ultimately replace the existing education edition curriculum (PDP-EE). A similar curriculum will be available to shops in August with additional tools tailored to improve shop culture and enhance the leadership and mentorship experiences.

I-CAR Academy is designed to kickstart a technician’s education journey, providing an engaging, solid foundation to launch into I-CAR Professional level (ProLevel) curriculum and Platinum Technician certification, along with OEM and supplier certified programs.

For shops, additional training and best practices for effective mentoring, which is key to technician development and progression, and culture best practices for shop leaders, which aids in retention, will be available.

“For over 45 years, I-CAR has been collaborating with the automotive collision repair industry to set the training standard, provide education programming that meets modern accepted standards, and credential technicians and shops who commit to staying current as technology and repair methods evolve,” said Van Alstyne. “I-CAR Academy is the next evolution in our service to the industry -- it is clear that we must adopt a cutting-edge standard curriculum that appeals to, and engages, new technicians because, whether they start in a school or a shop, we need them to be properly prepared to succeed on day one and stay in our industry for a career.”

I-CAR Academy curriculum’s was developed through extensive research and development, industry participation and feedback, and is aligned with the I-CAR’s Automotive Collision Repair Industry Knowledge & Skills Protocol.

The curriculum provides collision repair fundamentals such as safety and tool skills, and foundational knowledge for entry level roles including estimator/repair planner, non-structural, structural, and re-finish technician. Five badged learning areas are available now: Collision Repair Fundamentals; Disassembly and Reassembly; Plastic Repair; Aluminum and Steel Small Dent Removal; and Preparation for Refinishing, with Spanish-language and extended courses available later this year.

Schools and shops interested in the I-CAR Academy program can learn more at www.i-car.com/academy.

SkillsUSA National Competition

I-CAR continued its participation in the SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference (NLSC), a premier event recognizing excellence in career and technical education, held this year June 24-28 in Atlanta, GA.

For several decades, I-CAR volunteers, instructors and employees have been volunteering with SkillsUSA on a local and national level, and providing materials, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and welding coupons, for competitors. 

This is the second consecutive year I-CAR and its Collision Careers platform are exhibiting at the event to engage with educators, students and parents and highlight its resources.

Support at the 2024 event includes a booth adjacent to the Collision Repair Competition where attendees can learn more about I-CAR’s resources and watch the competition livestream, which I-CAR is also sponsoring; competitor PPE materials; swag gift bags; participation in SkillsUSA “missions,” a scavenger hunt style event designed to encourage and inspire students’ development.

“I-CAR’s long-time support of SkillsUSA is a testament to our enduring commitment to fostering the next generation of skilled collision repair professionals,” said Arianna Sherlock, senior marketing director for I-CAR. "Now, we’ve taken our participation to the next level to ensure that students interested in collision repair know they can count on I-CAR for the duration of their career to fuel their passion and support their growth in an industry that drives innovation, mobility and progress."

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