Autobody News has reported previously on the revival of the Auto Collision certificate program at Amarillo College. The head of the program Eddie Casias says it may be early in the semester, but he’s extremely pleased with the turnout.
He says, “we were hoping to get some students. We didn’t know how many. We were hoping to have maybe 5 or 7 tops, but actually we had a better turn out than we thought. We ended up having 12 students this year, so it was a lot better turn out than we expected.” Casias says the body shop industry, in our area included, has a high demand for qualified workers. He says that’s because high schools have gotten away from teaching the trades. Casias says, “not very many people are getting into the business anymore. I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s not being pushed as much anymore or what the actual reason might be, but body shops are suffering these days for help.”
“Nationwide, the auto body repair industry lacks trained entry-level workers and is struggling to replace retiring craftsmen. Every shop has trouble finding people,” Casias said. “Now I’ll be able to give students the right start in the business.” Over the years Casias has taught many helpers who have gone on to become great painters. Casias says 4 years of college isn’t for everyone, and he wants to take what he’s learned and pass it on to new students in a short amount of time.
“This class is actually a nine month course, and at the end of the course they earn a certificate of completion. With that certificate they can go out into the real world and actually get jobs in body shops,” says Casias.
AC’s auto collision program had been teaching students about the industry for about 25 years. Casias says it was put on hold for the past couple of years for unknown reasons.
A handful of auto repair shops in Amarillo say they fully support the program at AC. Many say they would much rather hire a student out of the auto collision program than someone with no schooling.Casias tells us there is no set limit for the number of students the class can hold.
The Amarillo College program teaches today’s technology with sponsor-donated equipment. With his industry contacts, Casias will be able to help students land job interviews after they’ve completed the program. “My goal is to get students ready to start working in a shop,” he said, “and to make this the finest program possible.”