Freedom High School was chosen from a nationwide pool of applicants for this year’s award. The grant will play a key role in funding the replacement of Freedom High School Automotive’s Miller welders. FHS Automotive has been fundraising for years to replace its welders to meet the needs of the growing program and stay up to date with industry standards. Welding steel and aluminum with both MIG and TIG processes enables the program to prepare students for a variety of post-secondary career paths and trade skills.
The FHS automotive program is the only of its kind in Wisconsin capable of doing full collision, refinishing, and restoration at the high school level.
About the RPM Foundation
This is the RPM Foundation – Building awareness of job opportunities in the restoration field, connecting talented young people to master craftsmen and supporting the continued “passing of the torch” in sharing knowledge to develop the next generation of craftsmen who will care for and protect America’s automotive heritage.
The RPM Foundation supports restoration and preservation training programs for the next generation of auto and marine craftsmen. As the educational arm of America’s Automotive Trust, the services, resources and grants provided by the RPM Foundation safeguard the future of the collector vehicle industry by sustaining hands-on training for young adults
About Freedom High School Automotive
The Freedom High School Automotive program came to life in 1972 under the guidance of Bob Abitz, who built the program over an outstanding 35-year career. Over the years this program has grown into one of the most renowned and accredited programs in the state and even the nation. FHS is probably best known for its success through the SkillsUSA (formerly VICA) collision repair contest with 25 state champions (state record) and multiple finishes inside the top 10 at nationals.
One of the things that makes the FHS automotive program special is its focus on collision repair. Since 1972, FHS has taught collision repair techniques such as panel replacement, metal working, welding, plastic repair, cosmetic repair, and refinishing. Students also experience restoration and custom work, emphasizing skills like metal and composite fabrication, rust repair, and custom painting and refinishing. It is the goal of the automotive program to expose students to a variety of hands-on experiences to prepare them for a career in the automotive industry or personal vehicle maintenance and repair. Students use a variety of current industry standard repair techniques, tools, and materials to complete repairs on vehicles. Current instructor Jay Abitz has taken the program to the next level by introducing new curriculum, teaching practices, tools and technology and continuing the growth of the program.