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CREF Opens Applications For Benchmark Grant

Schools can receive up to $25,000 in funding.


From BodyShop Business


The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) has announced the opening of its 2022 Collision School Career Readiness Benchmark Grants, which allow schools to receive up to $25,000 in funding. Available online, applications are now open with a deadline of June 1.

“Schools and instructors often struggle to maintain their program at its current capability level due to tremendous budgetary pressure, but advancing technology requires constant improvements to the training they provide in order to ensure the industry’s future collision professionals enter the industry with the necessary skills to become effective members of the workforce,” said Melissa Marscin, director of operations/administration for CREF. “Through the industry’s generosity, CREF designed the Benchmark Grant program as a way of helping equip collision educational programs with the materials and support needed to elevate students’ educational experience in accordance with industry standards.”


CREF updated this year’s application to make it more impact-driven, goal-oriented and measurable, breaking it down into five sections: recruitment, program maintenance, program additions, employment and fueling innovations, a brand-new category designed to help programs try new and innovative ideas with the possibility of recreating those programs for others across the country. The Benchmark Grant application allows instructors to request specific items that are needed to help them advance their curriculum, and applying schools that are not selected for grant funds are still eligible to receive a variety of tools, equipment and supplies donated by industry sponsors and supporters.

In 2021, instructors from 124 schools in 37 states applied for Benchmark Grants, and the industry’s generous support enabled CREF to award $329,000 in grants to over 80 schools. Since 2009, CREF has facilitated the industry’s generosity to provide collision repair educational programs with over $5 million in cash and in-kind donations. Get more information about directing a monetary or in-kind donation to a specific school in their market area can get more information by clicking here.


The Benchmark Grants recognize schools that excel at educating students in collision repair, but due to strained school budgets, the programs require additional financial assistance. Recipient schools use these funds to provide the tools, equipment and supplies necessary to enhance their students’ learning experience and elevate the caliber of their graduates, ensuring that graduates are prepared to successfully enter the workforce upon graduation.

Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting CREF’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs should contact Brandon Eckenrode, managing director, at (312) 231-0258 or [email protected]. Monetary donations can be made online.



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