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Friday, 04 March 2016 22:14

Texas State Technical College's Auto Collision Technology Program Receives National Grant

Tyler Ashby has a passion for paint.

Ashby, 26, of Burleson grew up watching his relatives work on vehicles. He once worked in a paint and body shop and through all of this, he discovered he enjoyed automobile painting. Ashby, a first-year student at Texas State Technical College, is pursuing an associate degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology - Refinishing Specialization and a certificate in Auto Collision Repair.

Ashby and other students will soon get to use new equipment to work on in labs. TSTC's Auto Collision Technology program recently received for the first time a $50,000 Collision Repair Education Foundation Makeover Grant.

"It's a great idea to have this equipment in the shop," he said.

Money for the grant was made possible by Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, Caliber Collision, GEICO, Herb's Collision and Nationwide Insurance. Faculty members put together a wishlist of the program's equipment needs which will be delivered soon.

"The faculty will be able to continue to sharpen our own skills and then pass that knowledge on to the students," said Ranson Bandy, an Auto Collision Technology instructor. "The better we learn the better we will be able to teach."

Second-year student Robert Lee Pecina Jr., 36, grew up in Marlin and remembered watching his grandfather run his own paint and body shop. In high school he toured TSTC and saw the Auto Collision Technology labs. Now living and studying for an associate degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology - Refinishing Specialization in Waco, Pecina said is looking forward to using new air dryer guns.

The program has applied for the grant in recent years and though it did not win the top award before now, it still received gifts in kind such as two wrecked vehicles for students to repair. Through the grant initiative, the program has also received an aluminum repair kit and laptops for instructors to use in class.

"We received several welders that our budget would not allow us to buy," said Clint Campbell, Auto Collision Technology's program chair. "We were able to move toward aluminum welding with the equipment."

Campbell said faculty are planning to apply for the grant again.

"We need to keep our name out there and the work the program does," Campbell said.

Students can earn associate degrees in Auto Collision and Management Technology - Refinishing Specialization or Repair Specialization. Students can also earn a certificate in Auto Body Refinishing or a Certificate 2 in Auto Collision Repair. The program also offers an enhanced skills certificate in Sheet Metal Fabrication and advanced technical certificates in Auto Body Refinishing and Auto Collision Repair.

The College Preview at TSTC will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2. For more information go to www.tstc.edu/openhouse 

Apply today at www.tstc.edu  Registration for summer and fall semesters begins Monday, April 4.

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