By Kathy Chouteau
Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest car rental provider and operator of the Enterprise, National and Alamo companies, is launching its Automotive Collision Engineering Pilot Program at Contra Costa College (CCC) in San Pablo.
The pilot program is launching this semester, spring 2021, with the first official day of instruction being Jan. 25, according to CCC Professor of Collision Repair Technology and Automotive Department Co-Chair Laura Lozano.
“We will be running a partially online program (this semester) with fully in-person labs and online lectures,” she said.
As part of the two-year apprenticeship model, CCC students will receive a real-world education while concurrently earning their Associate Degree. Students will be matched with an employer partner and alternate between eight weeks of classroom/lab experience and eight weeks of full-day work-based learning at a participating collision repair facility. A percentage of students’ pay for their shop work is subsidized by the program.
The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation is funding program expenses for the two-year pilot, as well as a digital advertising campaign to raise awareness about it. Other program infrastructure support is being provided by Ranken Technical College, while industry leaders from GEICO, Progressive, Ford and elsewhere serve on the Advisory Board and offer guidance.
The program is also piloting at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, MO, College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL and Texas State Technical College in Waco, TX.
The pilot program aims to attract and cultivate new talent for key roles within the collision repair industry, while also enhancing retention and advancement among collision repair technicians at a time when 80,000 of these workers are expected to be in high demand through 2024, per the TechForce Foundation.
“The opportunity for future technicians to build successful, well-paying careers in this industry is enormous,” said Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), noting that the pilot program “is helping fill both the worker shortage and skills gap that exist.”
CCC’s Automotive Services Building is located on campus at 2600 Mission Bell Dr. In 2018, the building welcomed Toyota’s Technician Training & Education Network (T-TEN) program, which provides hands-on training in both classroom and dealership settings, with the aim of prepping students for well-paid, in-demand careers.
The CCC program offers Associate Degrees and/or Certificates of Completion in the following industry areas of study: Automotive Collision Repair Technology (AS/Certificate of Completion); Automotive Hybrid Technician (Certificate of Completion); Automotive Service Technician (AS/Certificate of Completion); Chassis Level I Technician (Certificate of Completion); Powertrains Level I Technician (Certificate of Completion); and Automotive Collision Repair Damage Estimator (Certificate of Completion).
According to Enterprise Holdings, the pilot program’s Ranken model can easily be adapted to educational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a digital learning management system for virtual learning having already been created and introduced at other participating schools.
Any automotive shops interested in participating in the pilot program can contact John Helterbrand, national automotive collision engineering program director and automotive collision repair department chair at Ranken Technical College, at 314-286-4889 or [email protected].
Learn more about CCC’s Automotive Department offerings here.