FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., March 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Nine soldiers at Ft. Bragg will be completing their military service and returning to civilian life fully armed with a $2,500 toolbox, employment offer and a new career in the fast-growing collision industry.
Developed in partnership with Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) and Ft. Bragg's Career Skills Program, Changing Lanes is the first program in the country to provide active duty service members with training and employment opportunities in the explosive collision repair industry prior to transitioning out of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Graduation ceremonies were held for the first cohort class of Caliber Collision's Changing Lanes program on Friday, March 17 at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
All nine members of this first graduating class have accepted employment offers at Caliber Collision locations in North Carolina, California, and Florida.
"Caliber's Changing Lanes program provides transitioning soldiers with rewarding collision repair careers while allowing us to bring on board teammates who share in our core values as we become the collision repair provider of choice in every community we serve," said Steve Grimshaw, Caliber Collision CEO.
"Changing Lanes represents an extension of Caliber's continued commitment to the military community that today includes our support of American Airlines Sky Ball, Carry the Load, 22Kill, Heroes on The Water, Allies in Service along with our donation of more than 100 vehicles to military families in need of reliable transportation," said Ty Gammill, Caliber Collision Vice President of Client Services.
The 18-week hands-on-training course is offered free to transitioning soldiers. Participants earn industry accreditation I-CAR points through a combination of instruction at FTCC's Automotive Collision Repair Facility along with a "real world" internship at one of the Caliber Collision's Fayetteville production centers.
Giving Back to One of Their Own
A highlight of the graduation ceremonies was the presentation of a 2010 Chevrolet Cobolt, donated by State Farm, which the Changing Lanes participants repaired and refurbished for a military veteran.
The vehicle donation is part of the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides™ program where collision repairers, insurance agents and partners team up to donate and repair vehicles to individuals in need of reliable transportation. Over the past four years that Caliber Collision has participated in the program, the company has donated over 130 vehicles valued at $1.7 million dollars through its Recycled Rides program.
The Caliber Recycled Rides recipient is Monique Martin, an honorably discharged Air Force Reservist who has recently experienced a number of difficulties in her life. With support from Veterans Services of the Carolinas, which nominated her for the Recycled Rides program, she now has housing and a new vehicle to help restore her to the rhythm of a better life.
Long-term Commitment and Expansion
As a commitment to the Changing Lanes program, Fayetteville Technical Community College has donated a 2100 sq. ft. building for the program's exclusive use as a training facility. Caliber is also building a 10,000 sq.- ft. permanent Changing Lanes Training Center equipped with state-of-the art technology exclusively for this innovative training program.
A second cohort is underway in Fayetteville with an early May graduation. Changing Lanes applications are now available for the 3rd and 4th cohorts. Expanding nationally, Caliber's Changing Lanes will also launch at Ft. Hood in Killeen, Texas, with the first cohort training beginning in mid-April.
About Caliber Collision Centers
Caliber Collision is the largest collision repair company in America with 482 I-CAR Gold Class Professional certified collision repair centers across 17 states. Caliber is consistently ranked among the highest customer satisfaction scores in the industry and backs all repair work with a written, lifetime warranty available at any of its 482 repair centers. For more information about Caliber Collision, please visit our website at www.calibercollision.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Kim Kimbriel – (C) 520-548-2000
SOURCE Caliber Collision