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SEMA Show 2010: NABC approves support for Spanish-language initiative

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Nov. 2, 2010, LAS VEGAS—The National Auto Body Council (NABC) approved a measure Tuesday to support a Spanish-language initiative for the collision repair industry.

The measure, dubbed an “in-language knowledge community,” would start the process of creating Spanish-language collision repair resources, such as a Spanish language dictionary of commonly used collision repair terms. The initiative is intended to support Spanish-speaking collision repairers whose English language skills aren’t strong.

“What we want to see is full inclusion of multiethnic groups into the auto collision industry with equal access to training, service and products,” said Karen Fierst, NABC treasurer and principal of KerenOr Consultants in Silver Spring, Md. Fierst cited U.S. Census projections that people of Hispanic origin in the U.S. will increase to 24 percent of the country’s population by 2050, up from about 5 percent in 1970. “Obviously the demographics of the country reflect the demographics of our customer base and employees and colleagues.”

Fierst asked NABC for a $2,000 start-up budget for the measure, although that funding piece will be voted on at the NABC meeting in January because it would fall under the 2011 budget. After discussion by the board about whether the NABC can afford to support such a measure and whether it falls within the NABC mission of improving the image of the collision repair industry, the measure passed by voice vote.

“We’re putting our best foot forward,” said Fred Iantorno, NABC member and executive director of the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association. “You don’t need to be 100 percent certain of success on every project you do. I support it from that perspective. If it’s a good project, the money will show up.”

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