At its November 2, 2010 board meeting, the National Auto Body Council (NABC) voted to establish an inter-industry initiative to explore and address the needs of the growing number of non-English-speaking employees within the collision industry.
The goal of the initiative is to facilitate equal access to industry training, services and products for non-English speakers, supporting NABC’s core mission of enhancing the image of the industry. Under the auspices of NABC, the inter-industry will develop strategies to enhance the working experience and quality of work product of non-English speakers.
Practicality dictates that one non-English speaking population be the initial focus of the inter-industry effort. Because the Spanish-speaking community was identified as the largest and fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, NABC will start there.
The concept of language outreach within NABC started at the organization’s July 2009 annual planning meeting. George Avery, then NABC president, suggested that a “Knowledge Community” be established to answer three basic questions:
• Is there a need for in-language outreach in the collision industry?
• If so, what are those needs?
• Is there anything NABC can do, in accordance with its mission, to meet these needs?
Avery recruited fellow board member Karen Fierst to spearhead the initiative. Fierst then set out to find interested, informed people willing to serve on the Knowledge Community.
The Knowledge Community has worked together for over a year now. It consists of Active Co-Chair Javier Avalos (Ina Road Auto Collision), Advisor/Co-chair Al Estorga (Estorga’s Collision Repair), German Mejia (I-CAR Southeast Regional Manager), Gene Lopez (I-CAR Southwest Regional Manager), Denise Pina (Brea Auto Body), and Ben Mendoza (Kelly's Body Shop). Fierst serves as NABC’s board member and the initiative’s facilitator.
The group has already begun discussions regarding several pertinent issues. These include the fact that Spanish speakers from different geographic areas use different terminology and the challenges that surface when translators/interpreters have no background in the automotive or collision industry.
NABC’s in-language initiative will conduct its first formal meeting of said stakeholders during CIC Week in Palm Springs, California this coming January.
About NABC: NABC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the image of the collision industry. Our ongoing and continued success is a direct result of the efforts and support of our sponsoring companies and membership. Please contact NABC directly for membership information. Call 1-888-667-7433 (888-66PRIDE) or go to www.autobodycouncil.org.