Collision Engineering Program and Crash Champions partner to train next-gen collision techs

June 1, 2023
MSO Crash Champions sponsors Collision Engineering Program talent at College of Lake County

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The Collision Engineering Program (CEP) announced a new partnership May 31 with multi-shop operator Crash Champions to sponsor eight CEP students from College of Lake County (CLC) in Grayslake, Illinois. Using the apprenticeship model founded by Enterprise Holdings Foundation and Ranken Technical College, CEP students will apprentice at local Crash Champions repair centers throughout their two-year program, working alongside and learning from professional mentors in the industry.

As part of CEP’s emphasis on collaboration between schools and industry, students gain real-world experience from the very beginning of their program with eight-week rotations between lab or classroom instruction and apprenticeships at local collision repair centers.

“The growing demand for highly trained collision repair technicians is well documented,” said Crash Champions Founder and CEO Matt Ebert. “That’s why we’re determined to invest in the next generation of skilled technicians and partnering with CEP is a creative opportunity to expand those pathways. We believe in the apprenticeship model, and this is just another step forward in our overall vision to invest in the future of the industry.”

With a growing network of more than 600 high-quality collision repair centers across the country, Crash Champions understands the need to invest in building a proven pipeline of talent and is committed to doing its part to address the demand. While this is the first time Crash Champions is sponsoring CEP students, both organizations are eager to expand the partnership to other CEP schools across the country.

“Schools don’t just need employers; we need partners,” said Octavio Cavazos, automotive collision repair instructor at College of Lake County. “It takes an industry to raise a technician, and it’s about so much more than just giving our students a place to work. It’s a long-term commitment to being a mentor and guiding new collision engineers throughout their journey.”

Crash Champions has committed to sponsor CLC students for the full two years of the program, as they rotate every eight weeks between the classroom and collision repair centers while earning their associate degree. As part of CEP’s earn-while-you-learn model, students will receive a rising hourly wage for their work with Crash Champions. The goal is that the apprenticeships turn into full-time jobs after graduation.

“Short-staffed collision repair centers are feeling the effects of the skills gap and talent shortage every day,” Enterprise Holdings Vice President Mary Mahoney said. “This new partnership with Crash Champions shows how we can make a real difference when the industry comes together. This is an amazing opportunity for our students to gain on-the-job training to prepare them for a career after graduation, a model that is critical to building a pipeline of qualified collision engineers for the future.”

The first group of CLC students began their apprenticeships with Crash Champions in March, after completing their first eight weeks of classroom instruction that began in January. In addition to the College of Lake County, the Collision Engineering Program is active at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, Missouri; Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California; Collin College in Allen, Texas; Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas; Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois; and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska.

For more information about the Collision Engineering Program, visit

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