Collision Repair Education Foundation Career Fairs Successfully Pair Eligible Graduates with Available Transportation Industry Positions

The new and improved version of the Collision Repair Education Foundation career fairs are going strong in 2018. Businesses across the transportation industries, including collision repair, automotive services, heavy duty auto, and diesel automotive, are meeting their matches and new graduates are finding their happily ever after careers.

Enrique Dorantes, a Gerber Collision technician, was hired at a CREF career fair earlier this year.
"I got a young and enthusiastic tech out of [the career fair]" said Aleksei Keller, General Manager at Gerber Collision, "We have seen Ricky's skill grow tremendously over a short period and he is the embodiment of what this company about, doing a proper repair while trying to WOW our customers."

What makes this year's career fairs new and improved isn't just the addition of hiring industries outside of collision repair, but CREF's new partnerships with TechForce Foundation and S/P2. Working with these partners allows CREF to help high school and college students and graduates prepare for the interviews they dream of getting as a result of the fair, facilitate on-site interviews, and play a more active role in employment presentations.

"I had an idea of what opportunities were available to me in collision repair from school," said Enrique Dorantes, a Gerber Collision technician hired at a CREF career fair earlier this year, "At the fair I learned about the technician development program at Gerber and I jumped on it because it was a good learning opportunity."

Each career fair hosts upwards of 400 students and a variety of hiring businesses in the transportation industries. The goal is to pair the brightest new graduates with the most lucrative entry level positions in the industries.

Dorantes said the opportunities he found in school all required more experience than his education provided, so prior to the career fair he was looking at taking a low paying job just to get his feet wet. "I needed more real world experience. School was 80 percent textbook learning and 20 percent hands on. Gerber offered me an opportunity to learn on the job and they provide tools which isn't something I could find just anywhere."

Keller is ecstatic with Gerber's hire even 6 months in. "Most young employees don't ask a question but he is full of them on a daily basis, trying to expand his knowledge," said Keller, "We were really impressed with his attitude."

Spring Career Fair Dates
The Foundation is currently planning career fairs on the following dates next spring:

Miami, FL (2/27)
Tampa/Orlando, FL (2/28)
San Antonio, TX (3/6)
Phoenix, AZ (4/6)
Atlanta, GA (TBD)
Chicago, IL (TBD)
Dallas, TX (TBD)
Detroit, MI (TBD)
Houston, TX (TBD)
Northern VA (TBD)
Northern and Southern CA (TBD)

Additional dates will be announced soon.

For more information on how to participate in a career fair or establish one in your community, contact Brandon Eckenrode, director of development, via phone at (312) 231-0258 or email at

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Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.