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Wednesday, 05 September 2012 18:19

It's No Accident Lincoln College of Technology is the Collision Repair Training Leader

Foremost Technology School Utilizes NAPA/ Martin Senour Paints as Exclusive Refinish Supplier

Employment of auto body/glass repairers in the United States is expected to grow more than 19% through the year 2020, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means upwards of 32,000 new, well-paying positions will be created, along with many openings coming from existing workforce retirements or transfers to other fields. In particular, however, was the Bureau’s caveat that certification in the field may be crucial to career advancement.

The bureau also notes that there will be significant competition for those applying for such positions armed only with a traditional high school diploma or GED; so the opportunities for new workers are excellent if they have received formal training and/or are certified in automotive body repair and refinishing.

But, where are all these well-trained technicians coming from?  Simple: the nation’s leading trade schools and technical institutions, such as the Lincoln College of Technology.

Founded in 1946, right after World War II, as Lincoln Technical Institute, the school first aimed to provide returning veterans with the opportunity to learn a trade and to place them in good jobs. For more than six decades, it has remained committed to providing students with the hands-on skills and training needed to succeed in the ever-changing employment landscape.

According to Steven T. Lee, Senior National Product Development Manager for Lincoln Educational Services, the institution now offers degree and diploma programs in a wide variety of curriculums, including Health Sciences, Business and Information Technologies, Skilled Trades, Spa and Cosmetology, Culinary Arts and Automotive Repair Training. In Automotive Repair Training, 13 of Lincoln’s 46 campuses nationwide have significant resources dedicated to the automotive repair field, the largest number of dedicated automotive study campuses of any technical school.

At six of these locations, certified instructors train students in every detail of collision repair, structural materials and technological advances, including auto body construction, surface prep, dent and panel repair, welding and cutting.

“In particular, Lincoln Education Services expanded its reach in Collision Training by purchasing an existing campus in Tennessee, called Nashville Auto-Diesel College,” Lee says.  “After that, we expanded our collision training to Indianapolis and then opened a new training center in Texas in 2006.” The collision program was expanded into the Melrose Park, IL location. Lincoln Educational Services acquired the former Baran Institute of Technology in East Windsor, CT, which added yet another collision school to Lincoln’s expanding number of campuses. In June of 2011, Lincoln moved its Denver campus and as part of the move, a new collision program became part of the campus offerings.

In 2007, Lincoln Education Services opened one of the largest collision training facilities of its type at over 64,000 square feet, also in Indianapolis. Now, it and the Nashville and Denver locations are the largest of the Lincoln schools.

Lincoln and NAPA have been partners in the automotive training since the 1960s and continue to expand their partnership to encompass not only the collision repair industry, but also other types of automotive, diesel and truck and motorcycle repair curriculums. Through the NAPA relationship, Lincoln instructors now utilize Martin Senour Paints to train students in the art of refinishing. In fact, Martin Senour is the exclusive paint supplier to all its collision training centers.

Lee reports that Martin Senour was named refinishing product line of choice for several reasons. First, the seven day open window for its products’ recoating is perfect in the training process undertaken at Lincoln. Next, Martin Senour’s IPC15® Clearcoat dries to the touch in 10 minutes, which allows for more productivity and training time in classes. Additionally, due to the overall easiness and compatibility of the product line, it makes for a natural with which students can learn the automotive painting craft.

“Martin Senour has been great to work with as a partner. The company has provided equipment for the school, as well as free education for our instructors on their products. It also has certified our educators to oversee and provide certification for our students,” Lee notes. “They have been very helpful if technical issues arise and very prompt in helping both our staff and students. They have even provided our students with their custom paint line Planet Color® and its special products. We use these on custom vehicles or specialty cars that, in turn, often are displayed and used to promote Lincoln booths at career shows, as well.”

“NAPA and Lincoln Tech have shared almost 50 years in a successful working relationship,” says Jim Rule, NAPA Tools & Equipment Group Senior Account Manager. “During this time, we’ve seen thousands of successful graduates come through the program and we are proud to have assisted so many entering the professional automotive market workforce.”

Lincoln’s Lee points out that NAPA’s Rule, Martin Senour’s Duane Adamski and several of the paint company’s technical reps at Lincoln’s many campuses all have been instrumental in helping the school and its students adapt to new waterborne and other low VOC technologies.

Such was the case when Martin Senour introduced the students to VORTEX™, its premier waterborne solution. This is an innovative waterborne basecoat/clearcoat system uses a proprietary resin system but behaves like a solvent borne system.

“Martin Senour Paints is committed to providing a waterborne solution that lowers emissions and meets continuing legislative requirements. Unlike solvent-borne basecoats of the past, VORTEX ensures up to a 96 percent reduction in VOC emissions, compared to solvent-borne coatings. It also helps reduce hazardous waste generation,” says Jeff Green, Martin Senour Director of Sales.

Green says Martin Senour’s goal in launching this product was to ease the fears and concerns collision shop owners have in changing from a solvent to a waterborne system. 

“Because VORTEX has solvent borne-like application properties, it ensures a seamless transition and conversion,” he adds.  “Technicians will be familiar and comfortable with the process already, requiring minimal training and start-up costs. It’s also perfect for Lincoln students, as it just makes sense to have the painters of tomorrow learn to work with it today.”

Rule says the organization is excited Lincoln has chosen to partner with NAPA and Martin Senour in utilizing this cutting-edge product line in its training programs.

“It’s consistent with the way the institution does everything to prepare and provide expertly-trained and quality students entering the collision repair marketplace,” he says.

At Lincoln, Lee says making NAPA and Martin Senour our refinishing partners of choice was a logical decision. ”While students can learn any paint system, why not teach them with products that are the on cutting edge of technology?” he says. “The VORTEX system, as well as their new ProBase™ low solvent products, has worked phenomenally in our training center here.  The products spray out nicely and provide excellent coverage.”

As a unique education provider, Lincoln offers a true experience of lifelong learning that’s crucial in today’s economy, notes Lee, who describes Lincoln’s student body as somewhat of a mix. It includes first-time students looking to learn a trade right out of high school, as well as those who either are returning to school or choosing to learn an entirely new career.

“While we were traditionally known as a home for career-starters, we now also host students who are career-changers,” he explains. “And our curriculum in Collision Repair Technology is all the better for them because of our relationship with industry leaders like NAPA and Martin Senour.”

 

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