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A first-year Ridgewater student practices welding techniques using new equipment purchased with the help of an I-CAR grant. Submitted photo

Grant improves Ridgewater's auto body program

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WILLMAR -- An $8,100 grant from the Minnesota chapter of I-CAR will help Ridgewater auto body students learn how to weld metal on car bodies with brand new equipment.

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Ridgewater was notified of the grant this summer and used the funds to help purchase 16 new welders that will be used by first- and second-year students in the auto body collision repair program, which trains about 70 students every year for careers in auto body repair in its degree, diploma and certificate programs. The program has a placement rate averaging more than 95 percent, according to Ridgewater officials.

The addition of the new equipment will assist students, who are trained by experienced instructors and utilize the latest technology and repair methods and tools.

I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to training the collision inter-industry.

The Minnesota I-CAR Volunteer Committee made grant funds available to select post-secondary collision repair programs to obtain tools and equipment to enhance the learning experience for students, according to a news release from Ridgewater College. Qualifying schools must continually demonstrate a high level of commitment to the collision industry and exemplify the standards supported by I-CAR.

Formed by the collision repair industry in 1979, all I-CAR activities, programs, services and resources focus on supporting the auto collision repair industry to achieve a high level of technical knowledge through access to training.

-- Staff reports

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