The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South to host open house for automotive program

By Samuel Medina III/ reporter

The automotive collision repair program will have its first workshop March 8 when local auto repair shop managers are invited to meet students and see firsthand what the program is really like. 

One of the event’s five sponsors, Tech-Labs, will present its new 3-D virtual reality training system allowing students to use the latest tools in automotive painting.

Automotive instructor Michael Shoulders said the materials used in class are costly and with all of the safety equipment, it’s hard for other students to see how it’s done.

“Students will put the helmet on, have a spray gun and they’ll have a [virtual] car,” he said. “They’ll be painting that car and adjust the spray gun just like they would in the real world, but it’ll be virtual reality. It’s also going to be on a monitor so other students can watch that.”

The virtual reality training system will not only allow students to learn in a whole new way, but it will also track their progress.

The collision repair program’s faculty noticed that not enough people knew about them. Auto repair shops have a growing demand for students who go through collision repair programs, but not enough are being hired. The event’s main focus is not to show off the new technology but network with the surrounding auto repair shops.

“Shop owners can see new techniques and equipment, but secretly behind the scenes, I want them to know we’re here so I can get my guys jobs,” Shoulders said.

He said the event is not just to get students to sign up for the program but to network and get students jobs.

“I’m excited to get the word out,” he said. “I want the shop owners to know we’re here. I want them to know we’re here so they can hire my students. That’s my goal. They’re the ones I want to see how we train and remember us. When they need some help, I want that phone to ring, and I want to say, ‘Hey, I got one for you.’”

Auto body damage repair instructor Royce Wyatt coordinates the event and said he hopes the program can obtain a virtual reality training system of its own.

“We’re trying to have one purchased for the school to allow our students to do spraying techniques without actually using expensive materials,” he said. “It’s also environmentally friendly because you don’t have the waste byproducts. It’s a win-win for everyone, but it’s not cheap.”

Wyatt said it’s a community event, but it’s also primarily directed at collision repair facilities in the area.

“We thought the open house as a possibility to get the community awareness going as well as potentially getting some shops involved with the school,” he said. “It’s a different way to extend our hands to the shops in the area because of the shortage of technicians.”

South student Anthony Hernandez said the idea of virtual reality coming to TCC collision repair is exciting.

“I never thought we would get anything like that here,” he said. “I’m probably going to stop by for a bit to see the thing in action. Who knows? I might learn a thing or two.”

Three of the sessions will be geared toward painting while the other two will be dedicated to collision repair. The first session will begin at 8 a.m., and lunch will be provided at 12:45 p.m.

To RSVP for the free workshop, call instructional associate Felipe Maldonado at 817-515-4607 or email felipe.maldonado@tccd.edu by Feb. 26.

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