Collision program receives partnership


Daniel Hernandez / The Advocate

Roy Villarreal, learning program director of Service King Collision Repair (far right), speaks words of advice to collision repair students at a ceremony where he presented a $5,000 check to the CCC automotive department on Dec. 3.

By Daniel Hernandez, Advocate Staff

Students and instructors of the automotive department’s collision program can expect to see changes to the shop and the learning curriculum for the coming years.

On Dec. 3, executives of Service King Collision Repair came from their headquarters in Richardson, Texas to Contra Costa College to present a $5,000 grant to the collision program in hopes of establishing a well-founded partnership with the shop.

In collaboration with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Service King hand-picked CCC from only a handful of schools to give the donation.

The CCC collision center applied for the grant via CREF, which was awarded in November at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Around 25 collision program students gathered in front of the Automotive Technology Center for the ceremony, where Roy Villarreal, the learning program director for Service King, spoke about the benefits of working in an automotive career and shared advice on entering the industry.

“We’re going to create a partnership that is going to hopefully create a pipeline of entry level technicians to the (automotive) industry,” Villarreal said.

He said the automotive educational opportunities at CCC were diverse, secure and well-crafted, all outstanding qualities that cemented them as top candidates. Included with the partnership are plans to develop a strong curriculum and help identify the best opportunities for students after they graduate.

Lakeitria Luter, senior manager of strategic sourcing at Service King, said, “One of the things we look at is the school’s commitment to students and the relationship the school has with our partner, CREF and us.”

The collision center also serves as a recruiting hub for Service King.

Collision auto body repair major Akim Henderson said, “Getting the grant is outstanding. There have been so many blessings coming though this department.”

Henderson sees himself landing a better position in his future career and finds it imperative that students have a good workplace and learning environment.

He also said, “As a student, it shows that the work that I put in is not only being recognized, but is also appreciated. Personally, it gives me a better drive.”

Service King executives and collision program instructors gathered for a conference to discuss a “recruiting action plan” after the ceremony.

Here, the first topic of discussion covered the hiring goals and expectations Service King wants maintained — such as hiring five or more students per graduating class.

Mentorship programs between students and industry professionals, classroom presentations, tours of local collision shops and ultimately recruiting events are laid out in the strategy to meet the goal.

The executives emphasize that they seek commitments from students who will follow through with a career path in auto collision repair because thousands of dollars are invested into their sponsorship.

In turn, they want to develop a student’s social skills needed for working in a real shop by hosting workshops where mock interviews between students and shop managers are arranged.

Henderson believes that Service King will build a facility that is accessible for all students that include new floors, equipment, production and education with the partnership.

The donors are planning on following through next year with a shop makeover that could involve anything from new machines and technologies to remodels.

Along with the $5,000 grant, Service King has also paid material expenses for a new epoxy floor to be laid out across the entire

The Automotive Technology Center, includes the collision center, auto services room, tool rooms and closets.

Materials for the new floor are expected to arrive over winter break and be applied during the summer session. A new epoxy floor will bring additional safety to the shops when handling chemicals.

In the meantime, the search is on for a contractor to professionally apply the new floor.

“We are extremely pleased to be providing CCC with this check for $5,000. We hope that it truly helps and benefits the students to further their education here,” Luter said