CREF Art Meets Automotive 2022 Reception & Silent Auction

Attend the CREF Art Meets Automotive Reception at SEMA 2022

Network while supporting collision programs, schools, and students at the nonprofit’s reception. See event details below.

When: Tuesday, November 1, 2022 from 7-9pm (PST)

Where: Las Vegas Convention Center – West Hall Atrium – SEMA 2022

CREF Art Meets Automotive Reception Location

What’s Up: The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) will showcase talented and creative career and tech students at its Art Meet’s Automotive contest and reception November 1 at SEMA 2022.

The Event: Each year, CREF invites the industry to its annual reception during the SEMA Show, with this year’s event taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center – West Hall Atrium from 7-9 PM, where attendees will learn about CREF’s efforts to support high school and post-secondary collision students, recognize industry donors, and meet collision school instructors and students from around the country.

The Contest: “What Inspires You?” is CREF’s latest design idea contest theme for career tech student contestants to creatively paint or sculpt a used bowling pin, mini-hood, or other original work on the theme, to be judged on social media and in person at the CREF Art Meets Automotive reception at SEMA. Students were invited to submit ideas and drawings telling their story on what inspires them. Students were then selected to compete as a finalist and bring their idea to life with winners receiving a tool prize valued at $500.

Collision repair student Jamareon C. displays his refinished 2022 Mini Hood contest entry at Lake Technical College in Eustis, FL.

Who Is CREF? CREF is a 501c3 national nonprofit and tax-exempt charitable organization within the automotive collision industry which was started in 1991 by industry volunteers who even back then recognized a need for more students to be entering the industry to address the staffing shortage needs. CREF is committed to promoting excellence in collision education. The goal is that every collision repair technician student graduates accepting a job in a collision repair business, armed with the necessary skills, knowledge, and training to be productive and on their way to a rewarding career in the collision industry.

The Collision Repair Education Foundation is fortunate to have the generous support of over 1,000 corporations, businesses, associations, and individuals that support the mission and goals of the organization. Since 2009, through its industry partners, CREF has provided over $400+ million in donations to collision programs across the country which greatly assists instructors that are facing limiting program budgets.

What Tech Shortage? Every year, more than 21,000 collision repair technicians leave the industry, a trend that has increased steadily since 1995. An additional 31,000 technicians leave their current employers for another job within the industry.

The average age of collision repair technicians is 41, and more than a quarter of the existing workforce plan to either retire or change jobs in the next 12 months. These numbers add up to a critical shortage for the collision industry. Even with close to 40,000 students enrolled in high school/college collision repair classes each year, there will not be enough qualified graduates to meet growing labor demands.

Completed 2022 Mini Hood CREF Art Meets Automotive entry by collision student Valencia S. at Lincoln Tech in Denver, CO.

How Does CREF Help? CREF builds awareness of the many collision industry career opportunities within local schools and communities representing many industry segments. Awareness includes social media, outreach events, additional educational materials and video resources that will inspire people to pursue career opportunities in the collision industry.

In addition to awareness, CREF provides direct support through student scholarships, school grants, in-kind product donations and career fairs. CREF scholarships and grants remove financial barriers to education; promote opportunities for a diverse workforce; and reward dedication, achievement, and passion for their trade.

While CREF is a national organization, they recognize businesses draw talent from local communities. Therefore, their goal is to ensure that there is a top-tier collision school in every market in America. CREF works to ensure programs have the tools, equipment, and supplies needed to provide a quality technical education. Collision repair businesses are then able to hire well-trained, productive, and efficient employees from day one on the job.

How Can I Get Involved? CREF offers many ways for industry members to get involved and support their local collision school programs. Sponsoring uniforms for local schools, career fairs, donating scrap parts for local collision students to practice on, and volunteering on the collision programs advisory board are just a few examples of how industry members can get involved. Collaborating with CREF is one way to be solution-focused and help ensure students are graduating ready for entry-level employment. Becoming a part of the Leadership Circle is another way to give, influence, and make an impact.


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