Software Subscription Donations Advance Collision Schools’ Capabilities 


Today’s vehicles are basically supercomputers on wheels, so students considering a future career in collision repair need access to the latest technology to better understand what life will look like in the shops where they will be employed.

Fortunately, each year, thousands of collision repair students across the country receive the opportunity to learn on the same software widely used by the collision repair facilities and insurance carriers---at no cost to the school or students---thanks to the generosity of Audatex, a Solera company; CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc.; and Mitchell, an Enlyte company, who all partner with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) to support secondary and post-secondary students by donating software subscriptions.

In 2022, software subscriptions valued at more than $9.2 million were donated to collision repair educational programs at 517 schools across the U.S.

“The foundation is incredibly grateful to Audatex, CCC and Mitchell for their ongoing generosity and support of the collision industry’s schools and students. Without them, we would not be able to provide the next generation of technicians, estimators and suppliers with this invaluable opportunity,” said CREF Director of Operations and Impact Melissa Marscin.

“Because collision schools’ funding is often very constricted, it is not always within their budgets to purchase the latest programs and technologies for students to learn on," Marscin continued. "The free subscriptions received from Audatex, CCC and Mitchell allow these schools to teach their students on the same program that they’re likely to encounter after graduation, ultimately making them better entry-level employees. After all, students who have access to the most recent technology during their education are more likely to be successful when they begin their career in the industry.”

“It is vital to equip students with the tools they need to succeed in order to build up the future of the collision repair industry,” said Bill Brower, vice president of industry relations at Solera. “That’s why we are proud to continue our support of the next generation of estimators and technicians through this software donation.”

Audatex’s generous software donations are part of the company’s collaboration with CREF on the Audatex Educational Institutions Program, which also provides eligible schools with access to online courses and training, a custom curriculum that includes CEUs, I-CAR points and technical support.

This partnership has provided Audatex estimating software to more than 300 schools’ collision repair programs, a number that increases each year. In 2022 alone, 59 schools in 29 states received Audatex software.

To qualify for the Audatex Educational Institutions Program, technical schools in the U.S. and Canada offering a collision repair program must complete the Educational Institutions Program contact form found at

“The need for additional collision repair staff has never been greater and the skills required are different than just a few years ago,” said Andreas Hecht, senior vice president, OEM services group, CCC. “Familiarity with the latest technology is paramount, and CCC is proud to support CREF and its mission to create qualified employees for the industry.”

CCC is a founding member of CREF and has helped tens of thousands of students from more than 500 schools through its generous donation of software, onsite and virtual training, and world-class technical support services, delivered at no cost to the students or schools. In 2022, 263 schools in 40 states received free CCC ONE Estimating software. The company also grants access to its leading solution to connect repairers to automaker repair procedures and and its mobile estimating solution, which allows estimates to be written right at the car.

“Collision repair facilities are facing a significant technician shortage that requires the support of all industry stakeholders to solve,” said Debbie Day, executive vice president and general manager of Mitchell’s Auto Physical Damage division. “By making our advanced solutions available to the next generation of collision repairers, we can help CREF fulfill its vision to create qualified, trained and productive entry-level employees that meet market needs, both now and in the future.”

Last year alone, Mitchell provided students at nearly 200 participating schools in 40 states with free access to its estimating software, Mitchell Cloud Estimating, and Integrated Repair Procedures. The software works seamlessly with the company’s cloud-based product suite and Diagnostics as a Service (DaaS) solutions---giving future collision repairers essential training on technologies designed to improve efficiency and support proper, safe repairs. Using Mitchell solutions, students also learn the importance of OEM procedures as they diagnose collision damage and develop repair plans for today’s complex vehicles.

Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting CREF’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs can contact us to learn about the many ways to get involved. Monetary donations can be made online.

Source: CREF

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