Haywood Community College recently received a salvage vehicle from State Farm Mutual Insurance Company. The 2004 Kia Optima sedan will be used for study by students in HCC’s Autobody Repair program. The college will also receive an additional salvage vehicle for students to use for study.

According to Mark Hicks, HCC Autobody Repair instructor, the vehicle will be a great tool for hands-on learning. “The real world is hands-on. Students need this experience to apply what we teach in classes. When a vehicle has been damaged, people expect autobody technicians to return their vehicle to them in pre-accident condition.”

On this vehicle, students will learn disassembly, reassembly, structural and non-structural damage, collision energy forces, and how to realign a vehicle.

Hicks explains that while the economy may be down right now, technical jobs such as autobody repair technicians are still in demand. Instead of spending money to purchase new vehicles, many people are repairing their used vehicles. Also, the entire automotive industry is facing retirement of many of their technicians, leaving the field open for many job opportunities.

Graduates of the HCC’s Autobody Repair program qualify for entry-level employment opportunities in the automotive body and refinishing industry. Graduates may find employment with franchised independent garages or they may become self-employed.