Ford Motor Company has a formed strategic partnership with Enterprise Holdings, through the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, to support the growth of the Collision Engineering Program (CEP) currently operating at several schools around the country, the organizations announced.
The new industry partnership will expand the CEP to a new college that will become the seventh school to offer the two-year apprenticeship model, founded by Enterprise Holdings Foundation and Ranken Technical College, to attract and develop entry-level talent to fill essential roles within the collision repair industry, the group said.
The Ford Fund will offer scholarships to CEP students to prevent any barriers to students’ academic success. Ford Fund’s support will also 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,” said Mike Schmidt, economic mobility director at Ford Motor Company 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, program officials said. 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,” said 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 Company, through its philanthropic arm, the Ford Fund, to increase access to the Program and help address this ongoing industry challenge.”
The CEP is also partnering with the TechForce Foundation to help administer the Ford Fund scholarships for students enrolled in the Program.
The Program is currently active at six schools across the U.S. including Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, Missouri; College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois; Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California; Collin College in Allen, Texas; Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas; and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. The seventh school that will be opened through the Ford Fund’s support will be announced in the coming months.