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I-CAR encourages high school seniors to join industry with #collisiondecision

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Many students have skipped the pressures of this month’s “Decision Day” by choosing a skilled trade to go into, avoiding possible financial aid delays and concerns about their future along the four-year college degree path, according to I-CAR.

I-CAR’s Collision Careers program promotes and offers information about the long-term success and financial stability of automotive collision repair, a news release states.

Automotive collision repair offers diverse roles — like structural technician, estimator or repair planner, or refinishing technician — appealing to a wide range of skills, abilities, and interests. Plus, the industry’s low barrier to entry allows for quick training and strong earning potential, I-CAR says.

“Decision Day” has traditionally been known as the day when high school seniors are expected to notify colleges and universities of their decision to accept or decline offers of admission and enthusiastically share the milestone on social media. I-CAR created #collisiondecision for students who are unsure of their future as a means to celebrate, and find information about the Collision Careers program. provides decision-making tools, information, and resources to students, parents, and educators about the rewarding and lucrative careers available in the collision repair industry, according to a news release.

Collision Careers was launched in 2023 by I-CAR, in partnership with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF). The program leans heavily on social media, established digital marketing channels, and leverages relationships with educators, institutions, and associations to reach students and career changers looking for their next big career move.

According to District Administration, a leading provider of research-backed information on K-12 education, 37% of high school students do not have a plan after high school graduation, the release states.

I-CAR says a lack of information on college and technical programs, overwhelming options, job market instability, and uncertainty about the future are leaving students and their parents overwhelmed, I-CAR said.

“Collision Careers gets in front of students and other career influencers like parents, counselors, and educators through a holistic, modern-day approach,” I-CAR told Repairer Driven News. “We are actively participating in career fairs across the country… This gives us a seat at the table to have conversations directly with students about the benefits that come with a career in collision repair.”

Another recent example, I-CAR said, is a digital advertising campaign Collision Careers launched earlier this year aimed at students ages 18-24 and their parents, which was meant to draw more attention to the benefits of a career in the industry with a series of videos themed “Bolt Ahead with Collision Careers.”

“These approaches, coupled with our social media, YouTube channel, and established marketing channels help us connect with students and educate them on the industry as a clean, safe, stable, and exciting career option,” I-CAR said. “Once we engage with students and capture their attention, Collision Careers has valuable resources like career path details, job descriptions for different roles within the industry, training and educational programs, job listings, and career guidance tools to illustrate the importance of a career in this field. The program also connects technician candidates with schools, industry partners, and potential employers.”

Competitive wages and high job security, with over 80,000 technician positions currently open nationwide, make entering the automotive collision repair industry a strong, stable career choice, I-CAR said in its release.

A 2022 survey commissioned by the Collision Engineering Program (CEP) indicated that there is a lack of awareness about collision repair careers, although people are open to exploring them. It found just 17% of survey respondents were “very familiar” with collision repair or engineering. The survey revealed that those who were familiar with the industry were more likely to pursue a career within it.

“The industry’s constant evolution ensures there’s always something new to learn and master,” the release states. “This path offers flexibility, too. Individuals have opportunities to specialize in areas like structural repair, refinishing, or electrical systems. If interests shift down the line, the transferable skills built through education and experience open doors to other roles in other segments of the industry like insurance, or even leadership positions within their collision repair center.”

Dara Goroff, I-CAR vice president of planning and industry talent programming, adds, “Decision Day can be a stressful time for graduating high schoolers, especially those unsure of their next steps. The automotive collision repair industry offers a dynamic and rewarding career path that many should consider. We’re committed to highlighting these opportunities and providing clear pathways for motivated individuals to enter this exciting field. By talking about the challenges or feelings students may have around Decision Day, we are aiming to turn what could feel like a negative experience into a positive one where they discover the best future for themselves.”

TechForce Foundation’s latest Technician Supply & Demand report, released in December, found the number of students that had graduated in all automotive segments, including collision repair, was up.

According to the report, the number of collision technician graduates rose more than 5% in 2022 with an increase of 238, bringing the total to 4,725. The report shows that the technician workforce grew by 4.3% from 2021 to 2022, outpacing overall U.S. labor force growth (4%) for the first time.

“While this is good news, the report still finds the gap remains,” TechForce said in December. “Industry needs 795,000 new automotive, diesel, collision repair, aviation, and avionics technicians to meet demand over the next five years, 2023-2027. Even with the uptick in completions of tech school and community college programs, the gap continues to persist.”


Featured image: A structural technician works in a shop. (Photo provided by I-CAR)

As high school students struggle to navigate an uncertain future, Collision Careers shows how a #collisiondecision offers a rewarding path into automotive collision repair. (Provided by I-CAR)

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