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Autobody students continue to benefit from wreck/rebuild program

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Autobody student Mikal Smith works on a wrecked car in the autobody shop at Alfred State College.

The autobody wreck/rebuild program continues to benefit Alfred State College (ASC) students preparing for their career with hands-on education experiences.

Under the guidance of instructors CJ Tremper and Brad Smith, students in the autobody program enhance their skills sets by fixing wrecked vehicles to gain insight into what it is like to work inside a live collision shop. Currently there are six cars in the shop that are being repaired.

Autobody student Mikal Smith enjoys being part of this program. “I like being hands-on. We have lectures and go through the basics, and we talk through everything that we will experience in the real world. Getting hands-on you learn more, experience it, and you know exactly what is going to happen. When I go into the industry, I will already have done it.”

“It gives you a sense of accomplishment when a vehicle comes into the shop, and it is smashed and mangled and now seeing it driving and looking new.”

Vehicles are secured for the wreck/rebuild program through funding provided by the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., a private foundation dedicated to improving the Alfred State community through the support of educational programs. The Ed Foundation possesses a New York State automotive dealer’s license that allows the college to purchase wrecked cars from auto salvage auctions, which are used for hands-on projects. They cover the cost of purchasing the cars and any parts or materials needed to bring them back to pre-accident condition.

Work ranges from minor repairs on hoods and fenders to major repairs to the structure of the vehicles. “We go through everything that goes into running a car. We need to know everything so we can make sure everything works. When a vehicle leaves our shop there are no worries.”

This year students have been working on five cars, a 2014 Ford Focus, a 2017 Chevy Cruze, and three Dodge Avengers. The Focus and Cruze had front end damage while each of the Avengers had damage in different areas.

Tremper knows that this program allows autobody students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it right in the shop. “These cars have allowed our students to learn in the classroom by getting our hands dirty and doing the work. Once we had all the cars on site, students worked diligently to repair them. We are nearing completion on all five cars. The project cars have allowed our students to do not only body and paint work, but also a variety of mechanical work. The students are enjoying the challenge of these projects and have something great to add to their portfolios as they approach graduation.”

Smith appreciates the opportunities that the wreck/rebuild program and the Educational Foundation have given him and his fellow students. “I am extremely grateful and thankful that every day we have so many opportunities with so many cars.”

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