Hoffman Estates, Ill. (December 17, 2019) –
At the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s Awards Ceremony during SEMA, 1stCertified Collision Centers bestowed two Thomas Coleman Memorial Grants, totaling $45,000, upon two Southern Californian schools to benefit their collision repair training programs. El Camino College (Torrance, CA) is the recipient of a $25,000 grant, while Norwalk High School (Norwalk, CA) will receive $20,000. Eligibility for these awards was achieved by applying for the 2019 Collision Repair Education Benchmark Grant.
Norwalk High School Instructor of Automotive Collision Repair Ken Cook plans to use the funds to build ten fully equipped work stations and to buy a variety of needed tools and equipment, including a set of MIG welding pliers and a new MIG welding machine, that will prepare students to become successful entry-level employees once they graduate. In 2018, Norwalk’s collision program budget was just $1000, but despite the fiscal restraints, Cook’s students have won gold at SkillsUSA four times since 2011, and they have earned the SkillsUSA Models of Excellence Award each year since 2015.
Cook shared, “I’m still in disbelief that we secured that much money – the impact of this $20,000 is going to be amazing! New equipment creates new experiences, and it’s going to be exciting to watch everything take place! Our program has an actual wish list of tools, and now it’s a reality! We are so grateful to everybody from 1stCertified Collision Centers, for this generous grant. Your $20,000 will become a great investment in the future of my students’ lives and the collision repair industry.”
Thanks to previous grants from the Foundation, El Camino College has the tools and equipment they currently need, but Collision Instructor Pati Fairchild noticed, “There is a big disconnect in our area. High school students don’t realize what a good-paying career collision repair is, parents don’t understand the industry or want their kids to pursue it, and most local shops don’t know we exist and don’t value collision repair grads as the custom-moldable, trainable, potential star techs they want to be.”
Fairchild hopes to work with the Foundation and 1stCertified Collision Centers to acquire the help the program needs in regard to marketing, industry outreach and event organization in hopes of increasing enrollment, student motivation levels, local shop awareness for placement and partnership and community awareness of what a modern collision repair actually entails these days. Fairchild added, “With key organizations like the Foundation and I-CAR helping maximize the message, and by involving all the local high schools and colleges with collision repair programs, I think this grant will go far toward making a good step forward in the South Bay/Los Angeles area.”
1stCertified Collision Centers fund the Thomas Coleman Memorial Grants in memory of the organization’s co-founder, partner and friend who passed in 2014 from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In honor of Coleman’s passion for ensuring the next generation of collision repair professionals received a proper education, 1stCertified Collision Centers is committed, through the Collision Repair Education Foundation, to funding an annual grant supporting Southern California secondary and post-secondary schools teaching collision repair related courses.
1stCertified Collision Centers have collaborated with the Collision Repair Education Foundation to award the Thomas Coleman Memorial Grant since 2015. For additional information about 1stCertified Collision Centers, visit www.1stcertifiedcollision.com.
Industry members interested in supporting the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs should contact Brandon Eckenrode, Director of Development, at 312-231-0258 or Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation, founded in 1991, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting collision repair educational programs, schools, and students to create qualified, entry-level employees and connect them with an array of career opportunities. For information on how to donate to programs supported by the Education Foundation, visit us online at: www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org.
If you would like more information, please call 888-722-3787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.