CB - Collision Repair Training & News

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Technology; isn't it great!

It is a fact that new technology has changed the way we do business. Teaching is no exception. There a lot of new and awesome ways to teach and connect with students today. They have I-Phones capable of more than many of our computers. However, just like anything, it can be a two edged sword.

For instance, how many of you have ever said or done something a little out of line? Have you ever lost your temper? If so, you may want to be very careful. Several years ago I had a student tell me what the new "in thing" was to do. Several students would aggravate a teacher trying to get him or her mad on purpose. Once the teacher lost control, another student would secretly record the teacher using their cell phone. Then they would forward it to each other for a quick laugh. The problem is that a few of these have ended you on YouTube or GoFish. Of course, they only show the part of the teacher losing control. As a result, many teacher have lost there jobs.

I would never recommend wrestling with your students, but here is an example of a teacher being recorded and put online for the world to see. The students claimed they were messing around having fun. The student in the video and his parents refuse to press charges; nevertheless, the teacher has resigned.

The next time you lose your temper or say something you shouldn't, just smile instead, as you may be on candid camera.

This example is certainly out of line. I can't imagine why they were doing this. Maybe he is a wrestling coach... However, I have to admit, I would probably been upset if that was my kid.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What are you going to do...

What are you going to do...when you graduate? Will you be able to get the things you want? Make sure you make wise decisions, as it's already a challenge to survive in today's economy. It takes a lot of money to live.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Things you need to consider when choosing a collision repair training facility.

Enrollment has started and there is limited class space available. This is the time of year to enroll, in order to secure your spot in the classes you wish to take in the fall. Many students put this off until the end of summer or the last minute. However, some of them will find that the classes they intended to take are full. Many technical programs, like Collision Repair, have a low student per instructor ratio, which means very limited space available. Procrastinators may lose their spot to someone else.

Why choose collision repair as a career pathway?

Hands-on: Why should your job be boring and dreadful? You can earn income doing the things you like to do. If you're someone that likes working with your hands, a high-tech environment and you enjoy being able to step back and see the results of your work; then collision repair may be a good fit for you.

High income potential: I-Car Education Foundation completed a survey, showing the average income that a collision repair technician earns. You may be surprised that the average income of $51,312 is higher then many other comparable trades. In fact, the top 10% earn $88,460. Although, just like with any career, you shouldn't expect this your first year on the job. These are the incomes you can expect to make with experience and commitment.

Job Security: As roads and highways become more populated with vehicles, the results are more auto accidents. Unfortunately, the automotive industry is not finding enough trained technicians to properly repair these modern day vehicles. This means job security for you.

Work will never be outsourced: Think about it! Could you imagine a damaged vehicle being loaded on a ship, taken overseas, repaired, and shipped back to the customer...it's not going to happen. We need trained collision and paint technicians right here in the United States, in every state and every city to repair our cars. As a technician, you will never have to worry about your job being outsourced.

What are some of the things to consider when choosing a school to attend?

NATEF certified:
Make sure the school is a National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF) accredited. This gives you peace of mind knowing that the school has met the NATEF standards and is a quality school. NATEF is national recognized in the automotive industry and will give you a competitive edge, when you pursue a job. In order to be NATEF accredited, all instructors must be Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified to teach. This means that you will have competent instructors to ensure your success in the future.

I-Car affiliation: Make sure the school is affiliated with I-Car. I-Car is an organization that helps the collision industry with on-going training. They provide training to technicians already on the job and they provide curriculum and support to colleges and technical schools to prepare students for the world-of-work. I-Car is known throughout the collision industry and will give your potential employer another perk to hire you.

Where do I find a school like this and how do I enroll?

1. Call the school to set up a time you can visit with them and ask to tour the collision repair program.
2. Is the collision program accredited? If so, who are they accredited through?
3. Are they affiliated with I-Car and what curriculum do they use?
4. Ask if one of the program instructors are available to speak with. You can ask them program specific questions. This will give you a better feel of the program and the instructors.
5. What is their student per instructor ratio?
6. Find out what requirements, tools, tuition,and fees are required.
7. Have them explain the difference between a certificate and an associates degree. (some technical schools do not offer associates degrees)
8. Does the college have any articulation agreements with any other schools, which allows the student to transfer into a four-year university?
9. Once you feel you have made the correct decision, ask them to direct you to an advisor. The advisor will walk you through the steps to get you enrolled.


Post a commit on this blog or contact me directly and I will help you find a college in your area. The key is to act now. Waiting may cause you to lose out on this opportunity.

Here are a few resources for you:
Collision Career Video
Collision Career Information
Collision Resources

Donnie Smith
"Challenges Produce Champions"

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Discipline Problems in Our Schools from the 1940's to Now.

Why the change in students behavior over the last 70 years? By looking at history we can tell something has gone wrong with the way our children are being raised. A study performed by the Dallas Baptist University gave some of the top offences made in school in the 1940’s. These major offences included, running in the hallway, chewing gum, not putting paper in waste basket and making noise. However, these did not seem like big offences when I graduated in the late 80's. I remember fighting and alcohol being among the top offence at that time. Years later, I started teaching collision repair to high school students in 2004. This was my first teaching job and my first time to be back in a high school since I graduated. This opened my eyes to a whole new generation of kids. Top offences in schools now include every felony possible from running in the hall way to murder. In fact, here is a link to an article and video, where 9 third graders brought a knife, duct tape, handcuffs, and other items to school with the intentions to harm their teacher. This is quite alarming to me and reinforces us that we are dealing with a different group of students these days. Many people believe problems increased when most schools stopped spanking students at school. Others believe that spanking only lowers a students self esteem and produces violence. I believe both sides holds truth, but discipline must start at the home. Therefore, the same issue of spanking children exist in the home today. Does spanking teach our children discipline or not?

I know there are a lot of good books, theories and resources offering solution to resolve this issue. I know that spanking our children and Bible study have been taken out of schools, but I would like to point out what the Bible says about raising children. Here are a few verses on the matter: Proverbs 22:15 "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." Proverbs 23:13 "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die." Proverbs 29:15 "The rod of correction impairs wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother."

By reading these verses it seems apparent to me that the Bible teaches us that we should discipline our children by spanking them. The Bible also teaches us love. If we are going to spank our children I think we need to demonstrate we love them too. If we spank our child out of anger, we teach them violence. If we spank them out of love we teach them respect. If we only threaten to spank, we teach them how to lie. However, if we follow through with what we say, we teach them honesty. Sometimes it is easier to threaten or overlook things, but if we want our children to respect and obey us, we need to be consistent with what we do and say. We can't do one without the other. For example, if we love them dearly, but never discipline them, we will spoil them. If you always give to them without asking for a small sacrifice or something in return, they will become un-thankful. However, I believe the other side is the bigger problem we face. Which is, if you discipline, insult, spank, or beat a child out of anger just to punish them, they may not understand why. Therefore, we teach them to react in anger and become out of control. I believe the schools are being populated with these three types of kids: the spoiled, the un-thankful, and the ones that feel unloved and out of control. Of course, there are a lot of outstanding students as well. However, I sincerely believe you could trace many of the problems students have to one of the above three reasons. So, I believe that spanking is effective if done correctly for the right reasons.

What else can we do to help raise our children right? I don’t think discipline and love alone is enough to assure our children will go the way we want them to. Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." How do we do this? I think to "train "we need to demonstrate how by leading by example. Who are you going to trust more on your next flight; a pilot that has been flying for years and has took off and landed time after time safely, or someone that has been reading about flying and knows everything there is to know about flying, but has never actually flown? My point is, that just because you know the truth and speak it does not mean they will hear what you are saying? For instance, if you smoke and tell your child of all the hazards of smoking; are they going to hear "causes cancer" or "Mom and/or Dad does it, so it’s not that bad?" If we don’t want child to be involved with drugs and alcohol then we need to stand up and be the first to say "no" to drugs and alcohol or whatever it is we don’t want our child doing.

I know everyone does not have the same religion preferences that I do. However, I believe this method will work with or without Christan principles. If we let out children know we care for them, we love them, but we correct them when they're outside of their boundaries; while leading by example, will produce respectful kids with high self esteem. If we (the parents) can help develop our children with these core ethic skills, our schools will be filled with higher quality students making it easier for the teachers to provide them with an education.

What suggestions or comment do you have about our childerns ethics today?

Here is a video about the attack.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No Child Left Behind; Is It Working?

Education plays a crucial role in securing a successful job today.  The days of going out and getting a job without prior training are gone, as minimum wage jobs are not enough to survive in today's world.  Bush has passed a bill called "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB), which is to help all students receive a better education while in secondary school and to prepare them for a college.  The plan is to increase accountability for student performance.  At the same time, everyone got the perception that if every child can learn, then every student should attend a four year university.  There are reports that show that this bill, is in fact, working. 

Many studies have shown that four-year degrees are a good investment.  In fact, I am a big advocate of education, as I would encourage all students to pursue a bachelor degree.  Students that attend college and obtain at least a bachelor degree have a much greater chance of succeeding in their careers and more doors are open for these individuals. 
Again, I comment those that obtain at least a bachelor degree.  However, the problem is with the students that don't.  According to the National Assessment of Vocational Education, they report that two-thirds of America's young people do not obtain a four year degree.  This leaves almost 67% of people that do not have a four year degree.  What about these individuals?  What hope do they have of securing a decent and honest living? 
A problem with the (NCLB) is that it has left teachers teaching to "the test." Now how educational is it to teach someone how to take a test? I think teachers need the freedom to teach their students real education and how to survive in the real world.  After teaching three years of high school in Texas I believe the (NCLB) has created a huge gap between those who can and those who can't.  This is leading to a higher high school dropout rate.  I think the bill was an excellent idea; however, I don't believe it is working as planned.  What alternative solutions do we have available to help keep students involved with school so they will graduate?
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has the right idea to help solve this problem.  Arnold mentions, in an article by Time Magazine, that vocational education is the key to help students’ graduate high school.  Arnold says it this way ""I have talked to many kids who tell me they don't want to go to college, so why graduate?  They don't see an end goal. They can't visualize it."  I agree that technical education is the solution for the gap caused by the (NCLB.)  However, the budget the Bush Administration submitted to Congress earlier this year eliminates all Carl T. Perkins funding for Technical Education and plans to use it for No Child Left Behind.  This will be disastrous if this is pushed though, as it will affect the 67% of students that will not obtain a four year degree. 
In addition to graduating high school, technical education provides many career paths for students to choose from.  These careers are for people that may not feel like sitting behind a desk doing paperwork or talking on the phone the rest of their life.  These hands-on careers offer jobs that are high-skilled and high-tech, which offer high paying salaries comparable to many occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree.  You can receive the training for these jobs in two years or less in most cases.  This is good news for the individuals that may not feel like sitting in classes for an additional four plus years.  Our economy greatly depends on these jobs as well.  For instance, it's kind of hard to ship a vehicle overseas to be worked on when it is in need of repairs.  We need trained technicians right here that we can depend on to help us with these repairs. 
In conclusion, both four-year degrees and technical degrees are available to ensure success for students.  Our economy depends on both academic bound and technical bound students to survive.  Therefore, we must focus on our large number of students not attending a four year university.  We must not allow these students to fall through the cracks of educations.  We need them to graduate high school and pursue training that is a fit for their individual needs.  We must help them determine what their passion is at younger ages and help them along the determined career pathway.  This is what it is going to take to provide a thriving economy and to ensure that no child is left behind.   What do you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Are you ready to teach the next generation?

Take a look at what's headed your way; if it's not already.

Keeping up is today's challenge.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bush Eliminates Technical Education Funds to Fund No Child Left Behind

The budget the Bush Administration submitted to Congress earlier this month eliminates all Carl T. Perkins funding for Technical Education and uses it for No Child Left Behind. Read more about cut at ACTEonline Here is another link to an article about how this will affect a Texas school.

If you're involved with education I'm sure you're aware of the problems with No Child Left Behind. All teacher are able to teach anymore is "the test." Now how educational is it to teach someone how to take a test? I think teachers need the freedom to teach their students real education and how to survive in the real world. What do you think..?

What does this mean for the Automotive and Collision Repair industries? I don't think I need to spell it out, as shop managers and owners are already having a difficult time finding properly trained technicians. If this budget goes through, it may directly affect many of the automotive and collision repair programs in the US. If you're currently having a hard time finding qualified employees, just wait, it's going to get a lot harder.

Are you up for this challenge? I don't know what the answer is, but I invite you to be heard by offering your thoughts, opinions, ideas, or solutions by joining us at http://www.autocollisionnetwork.com/ or commenting on this blog.

Your Thoughts Please?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

BCC Student Meets the Orange County Chopper Folks

Devin Olson, a student in the Collision Repair program at Butler Community College had the opportunity to meet the folks from Orange County Choppers in Wichita, Kansas. Paul Sr., Paul Jr., and Mikey came to Wichita Wednesday, February 6, 2008 to unveil the chopper they build for Viega, a Kansas based company that makes heating and plumbing supplies. The unveil will be taped to air on an upcoming episode of American Chopper on TLC.

Devin is no stranger to legendary bike builders as his grandfather and great grandfather have built many extraordinary motorcycles through the years. Devin's great grandfather, Herb Ottaway, started working on motorcycles at the age of 12. Herb and his son, Jerry Ottaway, are well known for their collection of over 80 motorcycles they've restored and collected through the years. They have sold motorcycle engines to well known builders like Jesse James from West Coast Choppers.

In addition to motorcycles, they are also well know for designing and building steam engines. Jerry has built steam engines for, and developed a friendship with car collector, Jay Leno. He also designed steam engine trains for several amusement parks. Learn more about Herb and Jerry.

Devin is following in their footsteps by learning all he can about repairing cars. He is currently a student at Butler Community College and plans to obtain an associates degree in Collision Repair.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words

Sema 2007 At Las Vegas

Take a look at students learning how to perform collision repair.

Starbird 2008 Car Show Wichita, Kansas

Monday, January 21, 2008

Are Academic Skill Needed for a Technical Career?

While four-year college degrees are not designed for every student this does not lessen the significance of academic skills. Even though technical education provides a career path for students that may not be scholars or seeking a four year college degree, this does not exempt the academic skills required of them to properly and safely perform a technical career.

In order to get a job the applicant must know how to properly type a resume, fill out an application, properly communicate with interviewer, and the ability to read and comprehend the description and requirements of the job. Once employed, he or she will need to use basic academic skills in almost any job situation. At a body shop in a dealership, for example, the manager is going to hand the employee a work order and expect the employee to take the information and repair the vehicle. The supervisor is not going to instruct the employee step by step what to do like a teacher may do for a student. The employee will be expected to read and comprehend the work order and repair manuals; use critical skills to analyze the damage and determine a repair method and process; use math skills to calculate, to measure, align unibody structural components, and to understand estimating procedures and times. The employee will need good communication skills to communicate with co-workers, supervisors, and customers. Miscommunication is one of the biggest problems in the work place today. It is also important for the employees to have the right attitude and values. The best skilled employee can find them self unemployed if they do not know how to control their temper or if they are caught stealing. Which employee would you rather hire and work with? One that lacks some technical expertise, but understands the basics, has a good attitude, good values, team player, and is willing to learn the skills needed to become successful; or a seasoned employee with the skills of "Chip Foose" (if anyone watches Overhaulin), but is hard to work with, always complaining he's being cheated, can't get along with other co-workers causing a high employee turn over rate, hateful to customers, and makes you feel uncomfortable because you feel like he is always looking for ways to cheat or steal from the company? Would the high skill level be worth the headaches and risk?

According to Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) report, to survive in today's work place an employee must have the foundation and work place skills. These skills include:

•Basic Skills - writing, arithmetic, mathematics, speaking, and listening.
•Thinking Skills - ability to learn, reasoning, thinking creatively, make decisions and solve problems.
•Personal Qualities - individual responsibilities, self-esteem and self-management, sociability, and integrity.
•Resources - know how to allocate time, money, materials, space, and staff.
•Interpersonal Skills - works on teams, teach others to serve customers, lead negotiate, and work well with people from culture different backgrounds.
•Information - acquires and evaluates data, organize and maintain files, interpret and communicate, and use computers to process information.
•Systems - understand social, organizational, and technological systems, monitor and correct performance, and design and improve systems.
•Technology - select equipment and tools, apply technology to specific tasks, maintain and troubleshoot equipment.

Teaching students only technical skills is setting them up for failure in today's society. We need to teach students the basic academics needed, technical skills required, attitudes, values and work ethic expected by employers to ensure we provide successful employable employees in the future.

Technical education does not require all honor students. The ideal students need to have basic academics skills, safety conscious, interest in the program to motivate them to learn, willingness to complete assigned tasks, and a good attitude.

I invite you to team-up with us to produce champions of the collision industry. To support the collision industry and join our network visit www.learnautobody.com From there you can click on the Automotive Blog Network to join. It's easy and it's free. We just ask for your expertize. Let's TEAM-UP and work together.

TEAM: Together Everyone Accomplishes More

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fast Paced Change in Technology

Only one thing is certain in technical education. That absolute certainty is change. If career and technical education institutions are going to prepare students for tomorrow's jobs, they must adapt and change with the fast pace of technology.

The old method of learning a trade from the "old school" or traditional ways will leave tomorrow's employees behind. For many years a lot of trades could be copied and repeated over and over. For example, in auto body repair, the same methods were used for years to straighten damaged metal back to its original shape. Then lacquer paint consisting of only a few basic colors, were used to paint the vehicle back to its original color. While some of the old techniques are still very effective, the industry has made major changes. Plastic body fillers were introduced to take the place of lead filler; MIG welders took the place of oxyacetylene welding and brazing, enamel replace lacquer paints, and urethane replace enamel paints. These are slight changes that could simply be called improved methods. However, in the last 15 to 20 years we have plastic parts, aluminum parts, unibody construction in addition to full frame vehicles, computerized cars with sensors requiring the technician to be more knowledgeable about electrical systems, air bags, base coat clear coat finishes, three stage factory finishes, hybrid cars. And now, they even have cars that will tell you where to turn or if your lost, and even parallel park for you. This requires much more knowledge, skills and the ability to comprehend all the different repair methods to properly repair the vehicle to pre-accidental condition. It’s easy to figure out that a hammer and dolly are not going to fix all the repairs needed these days. Who knows what the body repair business will look like in twenty years from now. It’s clear the "just like learning how to ride a bike" concept will not work for current and future technical education institutions. If you step out of the industry for a long period of time, you're not going to be able to jump back in and continue where you left off. How busy would a carburetor specialist be in a dealership; or how effective would an executive assistant be using only a typewriter in today’s working world?

The future is calling for more diversified technicians than ever before. If we are going to prepare students for a technical career we must teach them the many skills required, but more importantly we must teach them how to learn to learn, because the fast paced changes are a never ending process.

Donnie Smith

Friday, January 11, 2008

Attention Auto Collision Repair Instructors

We're looking for a few auto body instructors to team-up with to collaborate and share ideas with.

As you know, academics at the secondary level are on the rise, resulting in less technical education programs, like ours, being offered. With less exposure of these type of programs is causing less students going into these types of careers.

Let's look at what results can be when we decide to work together. For thousands of years everyone did everything the same way. Basically, they provided for their own families. The results were pretty predictable. I guess with the exception of the weather. However, when people decided to team-up and work together, a revolution occurred. We've advanced more in the last 100 years, than we had from the beginning of time. Now, technology is changing daily.

My proposal is to team-up so we can come up with new proactive ways to present and attract potential students to this trade to. The collision industry is hurting for qualified technicians to work on these high-tech modern day vehicles. There are a lot of good programs to train them. We just need to get more students to train.

I invite you to team-up with us to create a revolution of teaching this trade to students. To support the collision industry and join our network visit www.LearnAutoBody.com From there you can click on the Automotive Blog Network to join. It's easy and it's free. We just ask for your expertize. Let's TEAM-UP and work together.

TEAM: Together Everyone Accomplishes More

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Challenge

This blog is named "Challenges Produce Champions." Let me back-up a little bit and tell you how I came up with that title.

Being an instructor in the collision repair industry, I starting to see a trend of less quality students enrolling in collision repair. High schools are requiring more academic credits to graduate. This leave less opportunities for elective programs, resulting in less technical education programs being offered in the secondary level. This leaves less students exposed to programs like collision repair.

At the same time, I was receiving students that did not want to be in the program. I believe technical education should be available for non-college bound students, but I don't think it should be a holding place for the students that the school don't know what to do with. It's definitely a challenge to provide a successful program with a class full of students that don't want to be there.

I then thought of the challenges I faced, which were less student enrollment and less quality students. This is what gave me the "Challenges Produce Champions" mindset. With that said, I wrote a "The Challenge," which was a challenge for the students enrolling in my program. My intentions were to attract more quality students.

This was aimed for students, but everyone can take the challenge daily by applying these ideas to your lives.

The Challenge

The challenge is not to just enroll into one of the exciting automotive or collision repair technology programs, which offer a rewarding, lucrative and challenging career, but to enroll with the intentions of learning and applying what you learn to become a "top performer" in the automotive industry. I read a quote by Laurence J. Peter that makes a lot of sense to me. "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car." The same stands true for education. Simply knowing how to do something is useless, if you’re not willing to use what you know to do it. Another example I heard from David Dykes in Texas is like looking at a road map. You can look, read and study a map all day or even all year on how to travel from here to Texas. You may discover all the alternate routes you could travel, but unless you get into your car and drive there, you are still here in Kansas. Just knowing the information will not get you there, just like reading the Atkins Diet book will not make you loose weight. You must apply what you learn to reap the benefits.

The challenge is to enroll in this class, have an interest in automotive or collision repair technology, have good attendance, have a good attitude, be a team player, and be willing to learn and apply what you learn in order to become the champion of your trade. You may be saying "Yea right!" Well, if that’s your attitude that is what will always separate you from the doers, leaders and champions. The world is full of half doers and slackers. When they see a challenge they turn the other way and run. They show up to class just to receive the minimum grade to slide through or go to work just to receive a paycheck. However, "top performers" have a different mindset. They understand all the efforts they apply will reward them for the rest of their life. They are willing to stay focused on a goal until completed. They fight hard for what they believe in, but pick their battles wisely. They see limitations and obstacles as challenges to overcome, not excuses to fail. They get back up when knocked down, instead of claiming it can’t be done. They base their future goals on what can be done, instead of focusing on their past failures. And they’re always willing to help others up instead of laughing at them while they’re down.

These are the individuals that will be at the top of their careers, with the successful jobs, earning a lot of money, and having enough income to do all the things they desire.

According to I-Car the top 10 % of technicians make over $85,000 a year. Many technicians even decide to start and operate their own successful business leaving the earning potential unlimited. Are you going to be one of them or are you someone that will scrape by to make ends meet? The choice is yours. The things and values you consider success are up to you. Your teachers, parents, or friends can’t make these choices for you. It’s all up to you. If you’re a slacker you can change. If you were not an honor student in school, you can improve and still become very successful. If you have limitations you can overcome them. However, no one can help you if you are not willing to let them. If you’re not willing to learn, to work hard, to complete assigned tasks, to help others, be present and on time, or to stay up with the fast paced changes and challenges of technology, than this class is not a good fit for you. This class will be a waste of your time and a waste of our time. You may need to consider another career that does not require the physical application and challenges this industry requires. However, if you are willing to enroll in this class with the mindset of a champion, then we dare you to take the ultimate challenge that Automotive or Collision Repair Technology has to offer you.

~Donnie Smith
"Challenges Produce Champions"

If you're involved in the automotive or collision repair industry and are interested in producing more qualified technicians, I challenge you to join us at www.LearnAutoBody.com and help us produce champions of the collision industry.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Are your childern amoung the two-thirds of America's Youth that will not attend a four-year college?

Should Schools Offer a Two-Tract Curriculum?

Two-tract curriculum has been a controversial subject since the late 18th century and continues to be an issue today.

In the early days of education, school was primarily for individuals planning to go to college and prepare for careers such as professionals, doctors, lawyers, teachers, ministers, and engineers. However, due to compulsory school laws, the schools of America had a much larger and diverse population to serve. The diversity of the students from different cultures and social backgrounds with different job interests required the schools to create a two-tract curriculum to serve the student population. This consisted of a practical one for terminal students and a classical one for college bound students.

Today, many schools and individuals feel academics skills are more important then technical education. Technical and vocational programs even find themselves fighting and defending their programs to keep them from being closed. Academic requirements are also being set higher, which is leading to fewer opportunities for students to elect technical education programs. While academics are a very important part of any education, I feel technical education play an important role as well.

I believe technical education is vital to keep American strong and successful. Technical programs need to be there to provide opportunities for individuals that do not plan to go attend a four-year college. The technical industry is in desperate need for qualified employees today and will hold true in the future. If we cut programs resulting in less trained employees to meet the needs of employers, is a step toward failure in America. If we take a look at history, we see that the lack of technical programs available resulted in a high uneducated society and an extremely high crime rate. I don't know about you, but I don't think we should repeat history. I think we should continue offering a two-tract curriculum and realize all students are not going to attend a four-year university. The National Assessment of Vocational Education (NAVE) report that two-thirds of America’s young people do not obtain a four year degree. This tells me we need to focus more on the two-thirds of the youth in America.

Now, I'm not against four-year programs. I think that is great for the college bound students. I just think we should offer the same level of support for technical education. What do you think?

Visit us on the web at http://www.learnautobody.comif you're involved in the automotive or collision repair industry. We're looking to network with instructors, students and others in the industry to provide optimum results within the industry. We'll be glad to hear from you.

~Donnie Smith