Tech Schools Gifted Auto Plastic Repair Stations
January 21, 2022 - The Auto Collision Repair programs at North and South Tech High Schools have been gifted Plastic Repair Stations worth $13,000 from St. Louis I-Car Committee. The organization works to provide supplies and information required to perform quality vehicle repairs. For the past two months, with the help of a few North Tech students, the committee has been working on building, stocking, and delivering the stations to its three adopted schools. Stations were brought to the Tech schools and Lewis and Clark Career Center on Jan. 20.
“Part of the committee’s goal is to conduct outreach to career and technical education schools in the area,” said North Tech Instructor Jason Buchheit. “It’s great for the students to see that the industry supports them.”
Station materials, which were donated and funded by business partners, will be integrated into the auto body curriculum. South Tech Instructor and alumnus Ken Neuman says that much of what he teaches is college level curriculum. The students will receive professional hands-on experience using the tools they would use in the real-world.
“Years ago, there was a lot of metal in vehicles,” said Neuman. “Now, there’s a lot of plastic. Instead of buying a new part, we’re teaching our students how to repair it and that’s how the station is going to help us. They’re going to learn how to repair plastic parts of a vehicle like the bumper, grill, headlights, and other interior pieces.”
John Helterbrand is a member of the I-Car Committee and says that the stations are an opportunity for students to learn the proper way to fix and produce car parts. He also says that collision repair can be expensive, which is another reason the organization decided to gift the schools with the repair stations.
“When you think about the cost of providing technical education and the amount of money that schools have to spend on tools, equipment, and real-world learning environments that we promote, it’s almost undoable without partnerships like I-Car” said South Tech Principal Jake Lohse.
Students will begin using the repair stations right away. Neuman says that he’s thankful for the generosity of the committee and is excited to dive into his lessons.
“I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love the students I work with. I love my industry. I’m just happy,” said Neuman.