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New scholarships for women learning collision repair; Event to honor women in industry

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Announcements | Collision Repair | Education
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Women looking to enter the repair industry can now apply for scholarships at Gadsden State Community College in Alabama and those already in the industry are welcomed to an event honoring women in the industry to be held later this month in Texas. 

Gadsden State Community College in Alabama recently announced more than $75,000 in scholarships for women enrolled in technical programs including Auto Collision Repair and Automotive Service Technology. 

Alan Smith, dean of Workforce Development, said in a press release that the scholarships are meant to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in Gadsden State’s career technical programs. 

“According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women make up about 47% of the country’s workforce but only 30% in manufacturing,” he said in the release. “Only 14% of the construction industry’s workforce are women. This scholarship program is an initiative to get more women into manufacturing, construction, and transportation careers in order to help develop the workforce in our area.”

Women were 12% of the automotive repair and maintenance workforce in 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Other qualified programs include Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Diesel Technology, Construction Technology, Civil Engineering, Electronic Engineering Technology, Electrical Technology, Industrial Automation Technology, Mechanical Design Technology, Precision Machining and Welding Technology. 

The scholarships will cover summer and fall semesters for new and current students at the college. 

Current students should notify their instructors of the qualified program and complete the Federal Vocational Applications, the release says. New students must apply and be accepted to Gadsden State before applying for the scholarships through Gina Martin in the Workforce Development Division at or 256-549-8600. 

The deadline to apply is May 29. 

And for those women already in the industry, the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT) will be honoring them during a May 22 event. 

Women’s Night of Honor is a way for women in the industry to come together and connect with others, said Jill Tuggle, ABAT executive director.

A panel discussion will include Erin Solis, vice president of OEM and industry relations at Certified Collision Group and Society of Collision Repair Specialists national director; Raven Hartkopf, a collision technology professor at Collin College, and Carrie Coppi, estimator at Hub City Body Shop in Lubbock.

The women honored with a cocktail hour, dinner, and custom gifts. 

Tuggle said the idea for the event came from board member Anthony Palomo. 

“Anthony’s main goal is to honor the women for the night,” Tuggle said. “We often juggle a lot of different hats as maybe a mom or a wife and we balance all of that. That’s the thing that he wants to celebrate.” 

Tuggle said she hopes the event is a way for women to connect with others who share similar passions. 

“We are all in this collision industry,” Tuggle said. “We haven’t always gotten along with the girly crowd. We are different for going into a male-dominated industry. It is not really the most glamorous industry. We did because we are a little bit different but we are different together. What makes us different bonds us.” 

All women in the industry are welcome to the event, Tuggle said. She said this includes women throughout Texas and other states. 

Tuggle also hopes managers will sponsor the $75 cost of each ticket. ABAT also has been collecting funds for anyone unable to pay for the ticket on their own. Contact for more details. 

The event will be held from 6-10 p.m. at Cook’s Garage, 11002 US-87 d, Lubbock, Texas. The attire is cocktail. 

For more information on how to sponsor or purchase a ticket, click here


Photo courtesy of zimmytws/iStock

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