ACC AUTO BODY CLASS - A lot Of Science !

Many may not be aware of a unique course at Alpena Community College, which is not offered at a lot of higher education institutions.

 One vehicle students were able to work on.

It's called "Auto body Repair"... a 10 month program mainly training students to repair autos damaged in collisions and not so much rust or big restoration projects. Students work on vehicles charging only for the cost of materials.

This vehicle had it's fender removed to not only refinish the fender, but to investigate the frame integrity and level of damage.

Greg Augustyn is the program instructor, and explained students have the opportunity to learn a number of things... Such as...

"Collision, panel replacement, frame straightening, color blending, things that are going to be required by these students when they get out into their repair field."

ABOVE (L-R) A freshly painted truck rolls out of the paint room. - A Student works on some body panels that will go back on a project car. - A student prep's a Corvette, striping off paint.

Augustyn explained that as technology changes with airbags, advanced electrical systems and hybrids, so do additional safety issues and methods of repair compared to cars of 20 or 30 years ago. Metals are thinner and stronger through design, but it also means it is not as easy to weld in pieces to repair like the old days where you had a lot more metal.

This one got a double whammy... "clipped" in the rear corner and it was the one pictured above with the front fender removed. 

Students will have to evaluate if it is cost prohibitive to repair, and if not, give consideration to safety. 

In relation to the gas tank, how will they work on the vehicle with sparks flying from grinding on metal or electrical lines near the filler tube ?

"We have panels being bonded now, which was something in the past which was very rarely done. Now it's not unusual to see major components bonded in place," Augustyn said.

One citizen "willed" a 1977 Olds Cutlass Salon to "Auto Body Science". Although the program shies away from major projects like this, students took on the challenge ! Door bottoms were fitted with fabricated parts from scratch, rust issues addressed, the car was primed and then painted. 

Given it's expense, Augustyn says a good share of universities have discontinued auto body repair programs. ACC still has significant student interest as it teaches a unique skill, and job prospects are good. Plus, as technology changes, a lot of older technicians want to get out of the business which opens up all kinds of opportunities.

While successful students get a certificate, Augustyn also requires a student to attempt taking a state certification test. Students can also take a national certification test, which supersedes any state certification as it is recognized throughout the United States.

 "And that is what employers are looking for," Augustyn said.

The finished Cutlass - Students:  Josh Radulski; Bari Madsen (back); Corey Rondeau; Pat Meharg; James Lacross; Steve Kortman; Mark Wilson; Olivia Ludlow; Instructor Greg Augustyn. Not shown: Tom Guthrie  


 PODCAST LISTEN - Instructor Greg Augustyn Talks About the Auto Body program.

VIDEO DOWNLOAD - Click Here (Big File)

For more information on the ACC Auto Body Program, see Greg Augustyn at Alpena Community College - 122A Newport Center - 665 Johnson Street - Alpena Michigan - 49707

989-358-7289 - -

On The Web:

ACC Auto Body Course Information - CLICK HERE