The Society of Collision Repair Specialists and March Taylor Memorial Fund will reward the nation’s top budding collision repairers next week at the national SkillsUSA Championships in Louisville, Ky.
The industry is projected to face a serious dearth of auto body technicians in the future — not to mention those capable of repairing the advanced-materials-engineered, Internet of Things-loaded and increasingly autonomous cars of the future.
At least 180,000 jobs will need to be filled in collision repair and insurance over the next few years, and the pay and demand should make it attractive to those who choose the field.
To reward those already pursuing that career and give a nudge to those considering it, SCRS and the fund will give a $1,250 tool scholarship to anyone who takes Gold in the high-school and postsecondary collision repair and automotive refinish categories.
“SCRS’ focus has always been to educate, inform and represent the industry, and at times, that representation is accomplished by supporting programs that promote excellence in our craft,” Society of Collision Repair Specialists Chairman Andy Dingman said in a statement. “Finding motivated individuals that exhibit the necessary technical skill sets is something that our business – and every other quality repairer in the country – is constantly in need of. It is important to us at SCRS to make sure that those students exhibiting that level of drive and determination are rewarded, and supported as they enter into the trade. We want future technicians to know that there is an industry, and industry groups, which are committed to supporting their success.”
The schools which helped produce the gold medalists will also be rewarded with a year membership to SCRS, allowing them to stay current on collision industry developments.
“I say it almost every year,” SCRS Vice Chairman Kye Yeung said in a statement. “The SkillsUSA program is a showcase of skill and achievement, and it gives me so much hope for the future of our industry. We need to encourage and embrace this type of commitment to excellence. There is a shortage of quality entry-level technicians in this industry, but not at this competition. I hope there is a day that the industry sees this as one of the leading recruitment tools for our workforce.”
The fund launched in 2007 to honor the late March Taylor, owner of Auto Body Hawaii as well as a SCRS board member and the catalyst behind the Database Enhancement Gateway.
“March Taylor lived and worked in the trade, and his life embodied the skilled work done on the collision facility floor,” fund committee member Jeff Hendler said in a statement. “The many donors to the March Taylor Memorial Fund came forward to benefit the technicians who labor daily within the many businesses across this country. The donations came in the name of a man who was a mentor to so many, and his heart was 100% in finding opportunities to advance people in the industry forward. Being able to set future technicians up with the basic tools they need to enter the trade is absolutely something he would have supported, and he would have wanted to do it in partnership with SCRS.”
In May, the fund announced a $1,000 award to Maryland collision repair state gold medalist Seth Darney to help him attend the national SkillsUSA. The Baltimore Sun recently reported Harford graduated from Bel Air, Md.-based Harford Tech High School
“This is the kind of thing that March Taylor would be proud of …” Jeff Hendler of J.D. Hendler Associates said in a statement. “If nothing else, March stood for the technician and worked to develop this skill set everywhere he could. The March Taylor Memorial Fund is honored to be of assistance to Seth. We wish him well in the competition and in his career.”
Auto body students compete at the 2014 SkillsUSA. (Provided by SkillsUSA)
March Taylor, the namesake of the March Taylor Memorial Fund, works at his Auto Body Hawaii collision repair business. (Provided by Barry Dorn)