A $50,000 grant would go a long way for the Collision Repair program at the Warren County Career Center.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation offers a $50,000 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Grant to "honor a school that has been doing an outstanding job in educating students in collision repair, but needs some financial assistance to improve their program's teaching materials and equipment," according to the foundation. "With strained school budgets, we are honored to have the opportunity to bridge the program's financial gap and to make a difference in the lives of the students studying collision repair."
The Warren County School District is going to give it a go.
"The I-Car Collision Repair Education Grant would be used for purchasing equipment for the Collision Program at WCCC," collision repair teacher Robert Smith said. "The equipment would give students the opportunity for hands-on use, and to gain the skills necessary for job placement.
"We must continuously update and improve the equipment and training to meet the demands of the automotive industry."
"This is a highly competitive award given to one recipient each year," Matt Jones, WCSD coordinator of grant and foundation development, said.
And from a budgetary standpoint, it is sorely needed.
"The 2012-2013 budget for Collision Repair at the Career Center is $7,500," Jones said. "That is for materials only - no new replacement equipment. That is down from $10,000 in the previous school year. The $50,000 budget (of the grant) is for a variety of material and equipment needs that the instructor feels is necessary to the Collision Repair program."
Items covered by the grant could include a resistance welder, air compressor as well as wrenches, screwdrivers and other tools.
"The materials and equipment purchased will be part of the program, where students have the opportunity to receive a certificate, take the NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Testing Institute) Collision Repair/Refinishing Test," Jones added.
Smith, in his first year teaching in the school district, is passionate about pursuing the funding.
"Mr. Smith received his very first paycheck and I received this grant request well before that," Director of Secondary Education Amanda Hetrick said to the Curriculum, Instruction and Technology committee in August. "He is very serious about this program and getting off to a good start. I'm impressed with that."
An executive summary prepared for the committee meeting indicates that the grant will "improve equipment and teaching materials. The WCCC Collision Repair instructor is proposing a grant for a variety of material to benefit the program."
The winner is selected by a selection committee comprised of members of the Education Foundation board of trustees, according to the Foundation. The winner will be announced in late October or early November.