June 29, 2023 | Nancy Patterson | Press Release
CHATTANOOGA, TN–June 29, 2023 –In partnership with Volkswagen of America, Audi of America, and the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Chattanooga State is thrilled to announce the recent donation of 12 vehicles to its TCAT Collision Repair and Automotive Training programs. These vehicles are part of a larger contribution of 78 vehicles generously donated to schools across the United States, aimed at enhancing the education of aspiring automotive professionals. The collaboration between Volkswagen, Audi, and the foundation has been instrumental in shaping the future of the automotive workforce in Tennessee and beyond.
Last March, a significant number of VW Group vehicles were damaged in transportation and could no longer be sold to customers. However, a dedicated group of Volkswagen and Audi employees recognized the continued functionality of these vehicles and saw an opportunity to repurpose them. Teaming up with the Collision Repair Education Foundation, months of meticulous planning and coordination ensued to ensure these vehicles found a new purpose within educational institutions.
"We are excited to partner with the Collision Repair Education Foundation on a solution that supports the education of future collision repair technicians. As these students grow and graduate, we are hopeful through local partnerships, they will have employment opportunities at Audi Authorized Collision Repair and VW Certified Collision Repair Facilities.” said Tony Russo, Volkswagen Group of America Damage Prevention & Port Policies Senior Specialist.
“This partnership perfectly aligns with the mission of the Collision Repair Education Foundation. It is so valuable for collision students to be learning on newer vehicles and we are grateful for the opportunity to help make this possible," stated Amber Ritter, Director of Marketing and Project Management at CREF.
In remarks Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp delivered at the event, Mayor Wamp commented on the importance of partnerships and workforce development in relationship to the benefits to the community, “What happens in here, people come in and develop a set of skills with the ability to earn a wage to support a family. ON this campus, real workforce development, changes people’s lives and builds the workforce for the future and fuels the economy.”
Chattanooga State is honored to receive the largest number of vehicles from the donation program in the state of Tennessee. A total of 27 vehicles donated by Volkswagen and Audi will enhance the educational experience of students in several schools throughout the state, with Chattanooga State benefiting significantly from this contribution.
"We are grateful to Volkswagen, Audi, and the Collision Repair Education Foundation for their support and commitment to educating the next generation of automotive professionals," stated Dr. Rebecca Ashford, president of Chattanooga State.
To commemorate this milestone and celebrate the future of the automotive workforce, Chattanooga State invited community partners to the event held at Chattanooga State’s main campus. Attendees had the opportunity to witness firsthand the impact of this remarkable partnership, as well as hear from industry leaders and education experts who are shaping the future of automotive education.
Photo Captions: Left to right: Dr. Rebecca Ashford, President, Chattanooga State; Nicole Barranco, Director of State Government Relations, VW Group of America; Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp, Dr. Jim Barrott, Executive Director, Chattanooga State's TCAT Division; Brandon Eckenrode, Executive Director, Collision Repair Education Foundation.