Airbrushing is an art form in and of itself. Lincoln Tech’s Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology program has sparked an interest in many students who want to take their training to another level by blending hands-on technical skills with artistic talent. To help bridge the gap between the artistic and the technical, Lincoln Tech’s Melrose Park, IL campus has partnered with AkzoNobel, the world’s largest producer of paints, coatings and specialty chemicals.
AkzoNobel’s partnership with Lincoln has been inspiring students for more than two years. The partnership came to fruition after Angelo Kourelis, AkzoNobel’s Account Manager, saw a need for quality technicians in the refinishing field. Mr. Kourelis had worked for more than 20 years as a technician before joining AkzoNobel in a management role. Seeing the technician shortage firsthand sparked the idea to form a partnership with the local Lincoln Tech campus – AkzoNobel could help students pursuing careers in a field they loved while also growing the technician workforce across the Chicago area.
“[We] want to help technical schools out,” Kourelis says. “We can work together with these schools and see which students are the right fit [post-graduation]. Then we can help put them in the right jobs and train them accordingly once they’re hired.”
Teaming up with AkzoNobel, putting skills to the test
In December, Lincoln and AkzoNobel joined forces to host an event for high school students interested in an auto refinishing career. Mr. Kourelis served as one of the judges, and AkzoNobel also donated a SATA spray gun as the first-place prize. “Students need to learn the basics,” he says. “Work hard and be dedicated. You need a drive and desire to succeed.”
Kourelis is no stranger to this concept himself as a second-generation technician who followed in his father’s footsteps. He knows what is needed for students and for potential employers, and that makes this partnership special.
What’s next in the collision repair field? Well, it’s a demanding industry – technical skills such as dent repair, welding and feather edging can be taught, but artistic skills need to be discovered and nurtured. Students with a love for mixing the art and science of auto body repair have a bright future at Lincoln Tech in Melrose Park – thanks in no small part to the industry leaders at AkzoNobel!