The week of Oct. 3, more than 200 students from across the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area attended a skilled trade career fair event hosted by the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) in partnership with 3M at its global headquarters in St. Paul, MN.
The interactive two-day event was tailored for students seeking insight into the diverse career opportunities available in the collision repair industry along with opportunities to interview with local collision shops for work post-secondary training.
Middle, high school and technical college-level students interested in exploring either skilled trade opportunities or automobile painting and metal work were able to participate in interactive sessions and demos with industry leading professionals. The sessions related to auto body repair included metal work, abrasives and adhesives; the paint sessions allowed students to spray and match colors in a booth and participate in the final stages of buffing and polishing an automobile at 3M headquarters.
For the first time, 3M and CREF extended the event to include a second day focused on promoting career awareness for students unsure of the path they want to take after high school. Working in collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools, students were invited to the 3M campus to participate in hands-on demonstrations and conversations with 3M employees regarding their personal career paths and trade backgrounds.
“The collision repair industry, like many skilled trades, is experiencing challenges driven by labor shortages. This opportunity to connect students with industry professionals is invaluable and we hope it creates a spark to bring needed attention to what can be a rewarding career with multiple paths in collision repair,” said Dan Wittek, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division global application engineer director. “We’re proud to be working alongside the Collision Repair Education Foundation to host this interactive career fair event and serve as a conduit between the industry and the bright young talent who aspire to be our transportation industry professionals of the future.”
“CREF is honored to collaborate with 3M in this two-day event. The Transportation Career Fairs provide a chance to connect students and employers,” said Tiffany Bulak, CREF program coordinator. “The addition of the interactive sessions with 3M and the career awareness day is a great example of collaboration and innovation to showcase all the opportunities collision repair industry has to offer.”
Training and education have always been at the core of 3M; it was a 3M training session at an auto body shop that inspired Richard Drew to invent masking tape in 1925. 3M is committed to investing every day for the training needs of current auto body shops and setting up success for the shops of tomorrow.