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Friday, 12 December 2014 00:00

Craftsman, Suppliers Step Up To Support Monroe Students in VA

A delegation from Craftsman Auto Body and its suppliers gathered at the Monroe Technology Center in Leesburg on the morning of December 5 to donate some $25,000 worth of material and equipment to the school’s auto collision program.

The truckload of supplies, including paints and sandpaper, will help the students training at the center, and, hopefully, better prepare them for careers in the industry. This year, there are five seniors and 16 juniors in the two-year program. Some of them are likely to begin their careers at one of Craftsman’s service centers, as more than two dozen previous graduates have done.

“It’s Merry Christmas today,” teacher Dave Williams said. “I’m speechless. I really am.”

“This will last me for years,” Williams said of the crates of supplies, adding the donation will free up money to purchase other needed items.

The donation included material from some of Craftsman’s suppliers: Norton, National Coatings & Supplies, Keystone Automotive Industries and Axalta Coating Systems. It was organized through the Chicago-based Collision Repair Education Foundation, an I-Car associated nonprofit that provided $14 million worth of supplies and scholarships to training programs nationwide during 2014.

“Thanks for teaching these kids to do things the right way,” Paul Krauss, CEO of Leesburg-based Craftsman, said to Williams. He noted the company employs about 600 and is eying an expansion into the Richmond market.

Foundation Executive Director Clark Plucinski said many technical schools lack the equipment needed for hands-on training and spend most of their time teaching theory rather than, for example, learning how to take doors apart and repair them.

The foundation’s mission is to help get schools the material they need.

“You get better training and these guys get better technicians,” Plucinski said to four of the program seniors who were surrounded by Craftsman representatives. “You’re going to be superstars and you’re going to make super money.”

Norton representative Jeff Steinbach noted the students are training in one field where their jobs are safe from current corporate trends.

“This is one job that will never be outsourced to another part of the world.”

Clark noted that the students may not stay in the field of collision repair, but will have the training to succeed in other ventures, from running their own shop to sales.

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