Ensuring that the next generation of collision repair professionals is receiving the proper training in up-to-date facilities with modern equipment and tools is vital to the industry’s future success. Recognizing this, Liberty Mutual recently donated $25,000 to the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), and those funds were distributed between four Massachusetts technical schools to support their collision repair educational programs.
Scott Kohl, Vice President of APD Field Operations for Liberty Mutual Insurance, explains why the company decided to get involved with local programs through CREF. “It’s really important that the industry continues to fund technical schools and their automotive collision repair and refinish technology programs. First, we all know there’s an extreme shortage of qualified techs in the industry today, and that will only improve if we make it easier for highly equipped schools to train students with new technology and empower those students so they’re able to produce immediately upon entering the workforce.”
“Additionally, it’s very important for Liberty Mutual to give back to the industry, and it’s so fulfilling to witness, through these students, the human side of self-development and pursuing their dreams,” Kohl continued
The schools that benefited from Liberty Mutual’s donation were Assabet Valley Vo Tech in Marlborough, Bay Path Vo Tech in Charlton, Montachusett Vo Tech in Fitchburg, and Southeastern Vo Tech in South Easton.
Bill Collins, Instructor at Southeastern, recalls, “Upon applying for the CREF Benchmark Readiness Grant, we were very fortunate and surprised to find out we were awarded a grant in the sum of $5000, sponsored by Liberty Mutual. We have been continuously trying to keep updating our shop and equipment to be considered a Tier One school by the standards set forth by CREF.”
Bay Path used the funds from Liberty Mutual to update old equipment and purchase items the program desperately needed, including a drain pan, hood prop, part carts, storage cabinets, a wheel caster system, several drill motors, a twist drill set, and a scan tool with OBDII capabilities. Instructor Ray Beck says, “This donation has had a positive impact on how we store car parts, and with the parts stored in a better way, it opens up more space to work in.”
Enabling schools to educate higher quality technicians entering the industry is vital to Liberty Mutual.
Kohl said, “We want to get our policyholders back in their vehicles as quickly as possible, but there’s not enough techs to fix all the cars. When the industry has an adequate pool of highly trained techs with the best tools, vehicles get repaired properly and returned to our policyholder quicker; by working together as an industry to make this happen, we all win.”
Industry members interested in joining the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s supporters, and assisting high school and post-secondary collision school programs and students should contact Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode at (312) 231-0258 or Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org.