ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—On Tuesday, April 25, St. Louis-based automotive and collision repair businesses participated in the first-ever Clays for Careers sporting clays event. The clay shoot brought together 15+ companies from throughout the industry with one goal: assist students pursuing trades by supporting local tech schools’ automotive and collision repair programs. The three schools benefiting from Clays for Careers were Lewis & Clark Career Center, North Tech High School and South Tech High School. Each school will receive $3,714.90 to purchase new equipment and/or repair existing tools.
“The Collision Industry has a unique opportunity to strengthen the future of the trade by actively supporting technical schools and their programs. Events like Clays for Careers raise much-needed funds for schools and foster partnerships and collaboration between industry leaders and educational institutions,” says John Helterbrand, National Program Director at Collision Engineering. “This ultimately enhances the quality of education provided to students and ensures a skilled workforce for the future.”
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The event at Top Gun Sportsman’s Club in Lonedell, Missouri, featured 14 shooting stations with each shooter receiving 100 clay “birds” or projectiles to shoot. Participants were split into teams of four in morning and afternoon flights, with the winners of each flight—or the teams who broke the most clay birds—receiving a cash prize. Other activities included 50/50 raffles, a barbeque lunch, and opportunities for event sponsors to meet industry professionals and promote their own brands. Hand and eye coordination is paramount in sporting clays, but thankfully many of the participants have been working with their hands on vehicles most of their lives.
"It's refreshing to see the Collision Industry come together supporting a much-needed venture. The trade industries have long needed replenishment, and supporting the schools that are training the next generation entering the field is vital to our future success,” says Terry Kammler, Regional Vice President of Operations at Caliber Collision. “The Collision Industry has so much to offer, working with the latest technologies in the automotive world and providing excellent career opportunities for young men and women."
Building upon that sentiment, Jaime Matthews, Vice President of Schaefer Autobody Centers, adds, “Everyone in the industry recognizes the importance of training the next generation of automotive technicians. Through community events like Clays for Careers, we can ensure there are plenty of young people properly trained to service vehicles of the future.”
For students still undecided on a career path, the automotive and collision repair trades are seeking dedicated individuals interested in a challenging, lucrative career without the burden of excessive student loan debt. Both the automotive and collision repair industries put workers in control of their future, as automotive technician jobs are in-demand across the country.
In 2024, Clays for Careers’ event organizers plan to expand the field of participants and invite even more businesses to participate. To learn more about Clays for Careers and be the first to learn about future activities, please visit www.claysforcareers.org.