Enterprise Holdings, through the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, has partnered with the Ford Motor Company Fund to add a seventh college to the Collision Engineering Program (CEP).
CEP is a national workforce development program founded by Enterprise Holdings and Ranken Technical College that offers a two-year apprenticeship to attract and develop entry-level talent to fill essential roles in the collision repair industry.
The Ford Fund will offer scholarships to CEP students and will also pay for program startup costs, instructor training, and school equipment including lab materials, and provide students access to toolkits, uniforms, PPE, certifications, tuition assistance, assessments, and other student-centered resources at the new school.
CEP students learn in both classrooms and modern collision engineering facilities where industry experts provide real-world education as students work toward earning their associate degree.
“We are just pulling partners together to try to solve this skilled technician shortage,” said Mary Mahoney, Enterprise Holdings vice president. “We have a long way to go. I’ve talked to shops that go, ‘That’s all great but I need 2,000 techs today.’ …We’re working on the educational side trying to build curriculum alongside our I-CAR partners and trying to move forward.
“Widespread industry support is vital to addressing the worker shortage and skills gap, and to ensuring the success of the Collision Engineering Program. As a leader in the automotive industry, we’re committed to addressing these challenges with our partners. We could not be more thrilled to expand our longtime partnership with Ford Motor Company, through its philanthropic arm, the Ford Fund, to increase access to the Program and help address this ongoing industry challenge.”
More than 110,000 new collision technicians are needed between 2022 and 2026, according to the TechForce Foundation. The CEP is also partnering with the foundation to administer the Ford Fund scholarships for students enrolled in the program.
“This collaboration enables even more students who are passionate about the collision engineering field to pursue their dreams,” said Jennifer Maher, TechForce Foundation executive director. “Cars today are computers on wheels, and the technology is advancing rapidly. It takes a highly skilled technician — an engineer — who can properly service the paint and body, calibration and mechanics required to ensure the repair and safety of the vehicle. TechForce is honored to partner with CEP and Ford Fund to administer the Ford Fund scholarships.”
CEP is currently active at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, Missouri; College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois; Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California; Collin College in Allen, Texas; Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas, and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. The seventh school that will be opened through the Ford Fund’s support will be announced in the coming months.
“This is an exciting time to support students pursuing careers in collision engineering,” said Mike Schmidt, economic mobility director at Ford Motor Company Fund. “As the auto industry is rapidly evolving, the need for bright minds who are passionate about technical careers becomes greater every day. Partnerships like these allow us to drive progress more quickly, and with a greater impact, for the next generation of engineers.”
Featured image provided by Enterprise Holdings