Collision student Frank Nocella (CR-179) knew from age 11 he wanted to work in a body shop. “My dad told me at that time I was too young, but two years later I was working in a body shop doing what I could and learning from seasoned pros.” Nocella took collision at his high school BOCES in Long Island, NY and found his niche in painting. “I was learning the entire process of collision repair, but I really felt most comfortable and confident with painting.” It wasn’t until a fender-bender between Nocella and another driver that he learned about OTC. “The guy I got into the accident with told me his son came to OTC for collision and if I wanted to move up and get ahead, I needed more education.” Nocella was already experiencing issues with some employers who were content to keep him working at one thing, which didn’t allow him time to learn more and move up and have the experience to handle the more lucrative jobs. He did some research and enrolled last September into OTC’s Collision Repair & Refinishing program. He’s nearing the end of his training and is now looking forward to adding on OTC’s custom paint module for more experience and opportunities. His advice to new and current students is, “Keep your eyes and ears open. Never turn down advice and ask for help when you need it. Learn the basics and find our own way and technique.” Nocella has been and continues to be the youngest worker in most collision shops. He credits the misconception by the general public that collision repair is a dying industry, discouraging young people from pursuing it as a viable career. “Cars may be getting more sophisticated in preventing accidents, but that doesn’t mean accidents won’t happen. Replacement parts don’t come painted and there can be embedded sensors in those replacement parts that that have to be synced to the car when replaced. It’s usually not a simple fix.” Consumers who are now waiting months for their cars to be repaired understand the need for this skillset.