The new partnership will expand the CEP to a new college, making it the seventh school to offer the two-year apprenticeship model. Founded by Enterprise Holdings Foundation and Ranken Technical College, the program teaches roles within the collision repair industry.
The Ford Fund will offer scholarships to CEP students. Ford Fund’s support will fund program startup costs, instructor training, and school equipment such as lab materials. It will also provide students access to toolkits, uniforms, PPE, certifications, tuition assistance, assessments, and other student-centered resources at the new school.
“This is an exciting time to support students pursuing careers in collision engineering,” said Mike Schmidt, economic mobility director of the Ford Motor Company Fund. “As the auto industry is rapidly evolving, the need for bright minds who are passionate about technical careers becomes greater every day. Partnerships like these allow us to drive progress more quickly, and with a greater impact, for the next generation of engineers.”
Throughout the program, students learn in both classrooms and modern collision engineering facilities where industry experts provide real-world education as students work toward earning their associate degree.
“Widespread industry support is vital to addressing the worker shortage and skills gap, and to ensuring the success of the Collision Engineering Program,” said Mary Mahoney, vice president of Enterprise. “As a leader in the automotive industry, we’re committed to addressing these challenges with our partners. We could not be more thrilled to expand our longtime partnership with Ford Motor Company, through its philanthropic arm, the Ford Fund, to increase access to the program and help address this ongoing industry challenge.”
Additionally, the CEP is partnering with the TechForce Foundation to help administer the Ford Fund scholarships for students enrolled in the program.
"This collaboration enables even more students who are passionate about the collision engineering field to pursue their dreams," said Jennifer Maher, executive director of the TechForce Foundation. "Cars today are computers on wheels, and the technology is advancing rapidly. It takes a highly skilled technician — an engineer — who can properly service the paint and body, calibration, and mechanics required to ensure the repair and safety of the vehicle. TechForce is honored to partner with CEP and Ford Fund to administer the Ford Fund scholarships."
Currently, the program is active at six U.S. colleges, including Ranken Technical College in St. Louis; College of Lake County in Grayslake, Ill.; Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif.; Collin College in Allen, Texas; Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas; and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Neb.
The seventh school that will be opened through the Ford Fund’s support will be announced in the coming months.