Auto repair organization donates $10,000 to tech schools
The people that put your car back together after a crash are investing in the future of the auto repair industry.
The Auto Body Association of Connecticut donated $10,000 to the automotive collision repair and refinishing program at the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System which is offered at eight technical high schools in Connecticut.
The donation allows technical schools throughout the state to purchase supplies and training materials for their students, according to organization representatives.
“We believe that our future technicians are going to come from the trade (schools) and if they are being trained with the equipment and material that we are using, it will be an easier transition into the shops,” said Antony Ferraiolo, former president of the ABAC.
The funds were split between eight technical high school programs across the state: Platt Technical High School in Milford; A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford; Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School in Groton; H C Wilcox Technical High School in Meriden; Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in Torrington; Vinal Technical High School in Middletown; and W.F. Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury.
Cuts in program funding have created challenges for the CTECs program in recent years, according to Ferraiolo, who said instructors often struggle to get the quality materials needed for their students to train on par with industry expectations.
“A lot of the schools have very tight budgets and a lot of their money for supplies and stuff like that come from them working on customers’ cars,” he said, adding that students regularly work on vehicles and use proceeds to fund programs.
Each school received $1,250 from the donation, which program representatives said makes a difference.
“Whatever they gave, it benefits immensely, because then you can buy the things you wouldn’t normally buy,” said Dan Thibault, Department Head of Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing program ar Wolcott Tech High School. “We all have budgets that are kind of small because of the economy and the way that the money is divvied out to the tech schools and the material and paint and stuff to have the kids practice with is very expensive.”
A gallon of red single-stage paint, according to Thibault, could cost as much as $600.
The ABAC features around 150 members from shop and business owners in the automotive industry looking to try and improve the industry by educating members and consumers statewide
To that end, the organization regularly works with technical schools to prepare students to enter the workforce. The ABAC works with collision repair instructors on the program’s curriculum, hosting department heads and teachers at ABAC membership meetings and attending school career nights to provide students and parents with insight on industry opportunities.
Friday marks the organization’s second donation to the program. In 2016, the Association matched $1,000 donations from Kemperle Auto Body Paint and Equipment, Auto Body Supplies and Paint, Paint World, Paul Francis and Co. and West Springfield Auto Parts Plus. Each company once again agreed to participate in this year’s donation.