Southern Texas collision repairers might have the answer to their skilled labor prayers after a nearly $300,000 upgrade to the Harlingen Public Schools’ auto collision repair program, according to a Valley Morning Star newspaper report Saturday.
According to the Valley Star’s report, the program will finally have the capacity to better verse Harlingen High School students in panel repair — which might be a great fit for employers looking to put entry-level staff on cosmetic repair.
“We were able to do minor repairs but not full-body paneled repair to the extent of the rest of the market,” district Career and Technology Education Director Raul Alvarez told the newspaper.
“We were doing the best that we could,” Alvarez said of the pre-grant auto body program, according to then report. “We were doing the best to sustain, but we were not up to the industry level.”
The grant will also fund a better paint booth, ventilation, a rotisserie lift, and a 30-iMac automotive computer lab with 3-D paint job modeling and some sort of “insurance” software (probably one of the estimating services), the Morning Star reported.
Another boon for students and employers, the newspaper reported: The grant will elevate the collision repair class to the point where students can earn dual credit at Texas State Technical College.
Citing BLS and O*Net statistics, TSTC reports that Texas is the No. 2 state for auto body industry employment, and the number of jobs is expected to rise 19 percent through 2022. Collision repair jobs pay $20.99 in the state, and the median wage for the industry is $43,000, according to TSTC, the BLS and O*Net.
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