Students prepare for booming trade work demand, repair Centre Police cruiser

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The demand for skilled trade workers is booming and high school students at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science & Technology are getting the tools they need to succeed in the industry after graduation. Along the way, they’re helping a Centre County Police Department.

Collision Repair Instructor Brian Hummel said the auto body job market is looking for employees with soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership, and communication, so he promotes these skills through special projects.

“So, when they do get out into a job they have the entry level skills, but they are also good employees,” said Hummel.

Hummel said the skills students learn are applicable to a variety of jobs, including body technician, estimator, or body shop supervisor. The salaries range from $29,000 to $160,000 a year.

In a male-dominated industry, Hummel’s class has four women who encourage others to try their hand in repairs.

“Anybody can do it,” said Kaylee McFadden, a 10th grade collision repair student at the Central PA Institute of Science & Technology. “That’s something my parents have always taught me, be you. Be who you wanna be.”

McFadden and her classmate’s latest project was repairing an unmarked Spring Township Police cruiser.

“This was actually community service work for the students,” said Hummel.

“It’s an honor,” said McFadden.

The students estimated the car’s damage, then sanded, primed, and painted it.

“What really sticks out about this car is the body work and the paint work and the taping, they’re all industry standard level,” said Hummel. “I’m very, very proud because ninth and tenth graders did the majority of this work.”

“They did a fantastic job,” said Spring Township Chief of Police Adam Salyards. “We’re proud to have this vehicle out in the community and really proud to say that it’s a partnership with CPI.” 

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