The Ford Motor Co. Fund in Dearborn is partnering with St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings to support the growth of the Collision Engineering Program (CEP), which pairs industry and education to foster pathways to careers in the automotive industry.
The new partnership will expand the CEP to a new college, yet to be named, that will become the seventh school to offer the two-year apprenticeship model, founded by the Enterprise Holdings Foundation and Ranken Technical College, also in St. Louis, to attract and develop entry-level talent to fill essential roles within the collision repair industry.
The Ford Fund will offer scholarships to CEP students to prevent any barriers to students’ academic success. Ford Fund’s support also will fund program startup costs, instructor training and school equipment such as lab materials, and provide students access to toolkits, uniforms, PPE, certifications, tuition assistance, assessments, and other student-centered resources at the new school.
“This is an exciting time to support students pursuing careers in collision engineering,” says Mike Schmidt, economic mobility director at Ford Motor Co. Fund. “As the auto industry is rapidly evolving, the need for bright minds who are passionate about technical careers becomes greater every day. Partnerships like these allow us to drive progress more quickly, and with a greater impact, for the next generation of engineers.”
With more than 110,000 new collision technicians needed between 2022 and 2026, according to the TechForce Foundation, a national public charity, the CEP is designed in collaboration with the automotive industry and encourages schools and industry leaders to work together to build a new generation of highly skilled, motivated, and passionate collision repair professionals.
Throughout the program, students learn in both classrooms and modern collision engineering facilities where industry experts provide real-world education as students work toward earning their associate degree.
“Widespread industry support is vital to addressing the worker shortage and skills gap, and to ensuring the success of the Collision Engineering Program,” says Mary Mahoney, vice president at Enterprise Holdings. “As a leader in the automotive industry, we’re committed to addressing these challenges with our partners. We could not be more thrilled to expand our longtime partnership with Ford Motor Co., through its philanthropic arm, the Ford Fund, to increase access to the Program and help address this ongoing industry challenge.”
The CEP also is partnering with the TechForce Foundation to help administer the Ford Fund scholarships for students enrolled in the program.
“This collaboration enables even more students who are passionate about the collision engineering field to pursue their dreams,” says Jennifer Maher, executive director of TechForce Foundation. “Cars today are computers on wheels, and the technology is advancing rapidly. It takes a highly skilled technician — an engineer — who can properly service the paint and body, calibration and mechanics required to ensure the repair and safety of the vehicle. TechForce is honored to partner with CEP and Ford Fund to administer the Ford Fund scholarships.”
The program currently is active at six schools across the U.S. including Ranken Technical College, College of Lake County in Grayslake, Ill., Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., Collin College in Allen, Texas, Texas State Technical College in Waco, and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. The seventh school that will be opened through the Ford Fund’s support will be announced in the coming months.
For more information about the Collision Engineering Program, visit here.