“Thanks to local leaders and industry professionals, we rebuilt the mid-Missouri area to infuse a positive energy back into the region,” says Elisabeth Sobczak, I-CAR performance training coordinator.

Mid-Missouri I-CAR Committee relaunches for training and education needs

Committee will help schools and shops stay on top of latest industry advancements and ever-changing training

Columbia, Mo.—The new Mid-Missouri I-CAR Committee has hit the ground running with its recent first meeting to identify the needs of the state’s collision repairers and schools.

“Today’s vehicles are more complex than ever,” said Elisabeth Sobczak, I-CAR performance training coordinator. “To repair them properly after a collision requires dedication and an ongoing investment in training, education and knowledge.”

The role of the committee is to be the mouthpiece at career fairs, career and technical schools, and the industry by keeping them updated and engaged in training and industry happenings. The committee will also provide feedback to I-CAR on industry needs, solutions and ideas.

“As the technical tsunami began to take shape, the need for training became all the more important,” she said. “Thanks to I-CAR National Business Development Manager Terry Ticel, local leaders and industry professionals, we rebuilt the Mid-Missouri committee to infuse a positive energy back into the region, showing our support for their success and of our volunteers who help I-CAR and the industry.

“It takes a team, where everyone is willing to do a little in order to accomplish a great deal.”

The committee’s goal is to help further the I-CAR vision that every person in the collision repair industry has the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer. Through relationships and outreach of the committee, it will help shops stay on top of the latest industry advancements and ever-changing training needs by being a liaison.

“With I-CAR, there’s no excuse not to train,” Sobczak said. “We offer all of the training solutions needed for complete, safe, quality and profitable repairs. Our current, role-specific, industry-recognized programs are taught by dedicated industry professionals across the country. And our courses are offered through convenient, affordable, and hands-on live classroom experiences, as well as virtual and online courses to fit into busy schedules.”

I-CAR has begun a new outreach to career and technical schools by delivering live and hands-on courses — National Scheduling. To promote technician retention and to offer support to career and technical schools, I-CAR has changed its live delivery model. National Scheduling, which includes moving to permanent training locations, most of which will be at the career and technical schools that I-CAR and the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) have supported for many years, will be at the delivery sites for its cadence of 22 live and hands-on courses.

“We believe that conducting training at these permanent locations will greatly enhance the learning experience for students and the teaching experience for our instructors,” Sobczak said.

Ranken Technical College, in St. Louis, has an apprenticeship program in which students go through an eight-week program using I-CAR curriculum and then work in a shop for eight weeks, reinforcing what they learned. That back and forth between the school’s learning environment and the shop’s real-world environment continues until the program is completed.

“This type of apprenticeship program is crucial to transferring the learning theory and hands-on aspect of the curriculum learned at Ranken, so shops can ‘grow their own,’ making the learning stick,” she said. “More of those types of programs need to be modeled across the industry. There is a misconception at the high school level that students who choose not to go on to a post-secondary school and enter the industry come out as journeymen, when, in fact, their ‘time in grade’ only exposes them to collision repair on a very superficial level.

“Working with the collision repair industry to create more of these types of programs will enable us to collaborate on meeting the needs of the industry in a proactive way.”

There is a broad difference in curriculum and quality across high school and post-secondary schools, she said. I-CAR attempts to bridge the gap by offering support to schools through the use of its curriculum and expertise in collision repair education.

The I-CAR Professional Development Program - Education Edition (PDP-EE) gives educators at technical and career schools access to the same comprehensive suite of teaching materials, curriculum and courses as its regular PDP for industry professionals. It includes a variety of special tools and aids that make it easy for instructors to implement the program. PDP-EE also includes I-CAR’s Intro to Collision Repair Series, which helps students build a foundation in basic collision repair concepts and terminology before they begin their technical learning. Those tools give them all the resources needed to provide students with industry-recognized training, preparing them for work in the collision repair profession.

She added that students graduate with the industry-recognized Platinum designation and the skills they need to enter the workforce as productive collision repair professionals.

“The committee is here to serve everyone in the collision repair industry,” Sobczak said. “I-CAR is continually building new and relevant courses to meet the demands of ever-changing technology. Vehicles are more complex and technically advanced than ever before. That means more systems are involved when a collision occurs. Making the right diagnosis, finding the right repair solution and executing the right calibrations post-repair are critical to the repair process.

“We can make that happen.”

Committee leadership and contact info
•    Committee Chair: Doug Bryant/Joanie Reed, dbryant@machens.com and jreed@machens.com
•    Vice-Chair: Brett Billington, brettb@schaeferautobody.com
•    Vice-Chair, Marketing: Stacy Miller, bodyshop@moberlymotors.com
•    Vice-Chair, Industry Training: Matt Owens, matt.proreps@gmail.com

Parts & People

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.