Getting involved with local collision repair training programs can seem daunting, but the rewards are well worth the effort, as Chris Ryland, Houston I-CAR Committee Chair and instructor, can attest. Since the Houston I-CAR Committee “adopted” Kingwood Park High School, the positive impacts have been apparent.
“We’re seeing an influx of students. The more we’ve gotten involved with helping, the more notoriety the school gets, leading to increased interest in their collision program,” explains Ryland who has been involved with the committee since 2014and has served as a committee chair since 2017. “We’re able to provide them with materials that can be used to educate students, and we’re also working on a way to support Kingwood Park even further by having collision professionals visit the school as guest lecturers.”
Kingwood Park High School has received support from the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) every year since 2015, and in 2017, program instructor Jeff Wilson joined the Houston I-CAR Committee where that relationship was fostered and continues to grow. “Being a part of the Houston I-CAR committee has also allowed me to better prepare my lessons for the students enrolled in the program,” he shares.
The relationship also benefits the collision program from a financial perspective. “The support we receive from the Houston I-CAR Committee and CREF filled that budgetary gap with consumables that generally would have eaten up my budget. Both institutions have been a main contributor to the success of my students who complete the course,” Wilson acknowledges.
Most recently, the Houston I-CAR Committee donated over $15,000 worth of materials to the school during an Open House event.
“We brought in the donations so they could see everything, and then we gave a presentation,” Ryland recalls. “Once the floor opened up, we were tied up with different parents and students all night long. It was interesting, and a lot of parents questioned whether their kids were on the right path and whether they need to attend trade school after graduation. Hopefully, they’ll all enter our industry in the near future.”
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.
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