Nearly 65% of new car buyers are women, yet only 26.7% of women occupy positions in the automotive industry (Catalyst Knowledge Center, 2021; WardsAuto, 2016). The PPG Foundation recognizes this disparity and graciously awarded Medina County Career Center (MCCC) $15,000 to support and expand the percentage of women and diverse candidates to enroll in the MCCC Automotive Collision Technology program!

Instructor Adam Rick who has been a PPG certified shop since 1984 in the collision repair industry stated, “It was a natural progression for me to continue using outstanding PPG products in [the Automotive Collision Technology program] once I started teaching collision repair in 2010.” He is grateful to have PPG employees serving on his advisory council and appreciates their product donations, training, and technical advice.

Former student, Erin Detchon, has been employed with PPG since graduating from MCCC and is currently a refinish solutions specialist. She, along with Scott Bryson, territory manager, and Chris Dewes, regional sales manager, recommended the MCCC Automotive Collision Technology program for this generous donation.

Adam Rick believes it is important to have non-traditional, underrepresented students enrolled in the Automotive Collision Technology programs because he feels diverse students, “can improve the overall success of the program and the success of the collision repair industry. Students become more creative because different ideas and perspectives promote diverse thinking and learning.”

MCCC Enrollment Services personnel are actively engaging in marketing and promoting this career path and have already increased unrepresented enrollment in the Automotive Collision Technology program. Please meet a few of our female automotive collision technology students:

Taylor Tecco said she chose to enroll in the Automotive Collision Technology program because she is, “into cars” and her family has “a lot of older classic cars and some of them need some bodywork and a paint job done to them. I am also a race car driver so learning how cars are fixed is great!” Taylor found learning how to weld was fun and her plans after completing this program is to either go directly into the workforce or enroll at Ohio Technical College for Rod and Customs program to pursue a career in the specialty industries of classic car restoration, street rods, customs and concept vehicles.

Michelle Pozek-Saldana chose the Automotive Collision Technology program at MCCC because she, “always loved being able to fix broken or new parts and put them back together and wanted to learn more about cars.” Michelle enjoys doing refinish work due to the “intricate work that goes into the process”.  Michelle’s advice to other females considering working in the collision and refinish industry: “You are capable of anything you set your mind to. A lot of people think females are not going to be as good as a man in the industry but to that, I say ignore them and prove them wrong!” After graduation, Michelle plans to work in a body shop and be the shop’s painter.

Mia Pekarek knew she always wanted to do something with cars and mechanics and enjoys the hands-on experience in the Automotive Collision Technology program. She urges women to “be confident with yourself and your ability” and “if you feel like this is something you enjoy, go for it!” After graduating, Mia plans on entering the workforce in the automotive industry.

Thank you, PPG Foundation for your generosity!

Since its establishment in 1951, the PPG Foundation has served as PPG’s primary grantmaking organization in the United States. Aligned with their global priority areas, the PPG Foundation helps to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s opportunities, revitalize communities and enable their employees to lead the way to a brighter future.