The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021 and will be ramping up efforts to support high school and college collision programs, students and instructors nationwide. As collision school instructors across the country face limiting program budgets and industry expectations of graduating properly trained, entry-level students, now more than ever is support needed by the industry. In recognition of their 30th anniversary, CREF will be announcing unique fundraising and support opportunities throughout 2021.
Industry members gathered in 1991 to form the then “I-CAR Education Foundation” to address the need for properly trained, entry-level technicians. The organization’s focus from 1991-2008 was distributing I-CAR training curriculum to collision school programs across the country. In 2008, it was decided that I-CAR would begin managing the distribution of the curriculum to the schools which allowed the newly named Collision Repair Education Foundation to focus on: attracting students to local collision school programs, supporting the schools/students through in-kind and monetary donations, and connecting students with local and national industry employers. Through the industry’s generosity, over $300 million in donations have been distributed to collision school programs nationwide since 2008.
Tom Wolf, of PPG Automotive Refinish and chair of the CREF Board Trustees, noted, “CREF board and staff members are excited to celebrate the organization’s 30th anniversary and will utilize this occasion to rally the industry to supporting their local high school and college collision programs, students, and instructors. The organization has come a long way from curriculum distribution to now averaging $10 million in support per year to these collision programs. We invite those who aren’t currently involved with CREF to contact us so we can work together to ensure the best students are attracted to these programs, the instructors have the resources needed to provide a quality technical education, and then connect the students with the many different careers this industry has to offer.”
Companies looking to partner with CREF in supporting local high school and college collision programs can email CREF Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode at [email protected].