Northwest’s Collision Repair program preparing students for workforce

Northwest Mississippi Community College student Ryan Barradas of Walls has always loved working on cars. Because of that, he decided to enroll in the college’s Collision Repair Technology program. Now, Barradas is one of four Collision Repair students who currently have a paid internship, where they are getting hands-on work experience that will prepare them for a good paying career.

The Collision Repair Technology program is a two-semester career certificate program designed to prepare students for an entry-level position in the collision repair and refinishing trade. Instruction includes glass replacement, welding, replacement of hardware and trim items, cosmetic and structural repairs. The program is only offered on the Senatobia campus, currently.

“Our graduates can work in stand-alone body shops and dealerships, but also for insurance companies writing estimates. It’s a really wide field,” said Tony Smith, Collision Repair Technology instructor.

When Smith came to Northwest last year, there were two internships available for students in his program. “I wanted to increase the number of internships and was able to work with the WIN Job Center to secure two more for this year. Students get paid for these internships. They leave there with real-live work experience. They have done the work and they have gotten paid for it,” Smith said.

According to Smith, there are two intern positions at Performance Auto/Ronnie’s Hot Rods in Senatobia and two at Millennium Paint and Body Works, Inc. in Horn Lake. He currently has four second-semester students placed in these internships, which are part of the college’s work-based learning program. “I get a report on the student’s progress from our partners each day and that way we know they are getting the skills they need,” Smith said.

Smith noted that all of his students learn skills needed to write an effective resume’ and interview skills as well. “We try to give them all the skills they need with their certificate at the end of the year to be able to sell themselves and become a part of the workforce,” Smith said.

Barradas believes that what he is learning in the program is preparing him for working both in his internship and in the workforce. “We have a great instructor here. He has been able to prepare us both mentally and physically for the challenges we will face in this career,” Barradas said.

For more information on Northwest’s Collision Repair Technology program, contact instructor Tony Smith at 662-562-3372 or email

Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College Collision Repair Technology instructor Tony Smith (right) gives refinishing advice to student Ryan Barradas of Walls. Barradas is one of four students in the program who has a paid internship this semester. (Photo by KayLeigh Mitchell)


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