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Auto Body students visit new Brown’s Ford facility

Auto Body Repair students at the HFM Career and Technical Center recently toured a local business where the skills they’re learning are in high demand.

Derek Brown and John Ackermann show students equipment in the new Brown's Ford collision center.

Brown’s Ford owner Derek Brown, far left, and HFM Auto Body Instructor John Ackermann talk with students about the Brown’s sanding station and resistance spot welder.

Area high school juniors and seniors enrolled in the HFM Auto Body program on Wednesday, March 23 visited the new Brown’s Ford vehicle collision center, which recently opened on State Route 29 in Johnstown.

During the tour, students got to see a state-of-the-art shop in action while learning about the processes around estimating, parts, working with insurance companies, pre- and post-scanning, repairs and more.

The students also had the chance to meet HFM alumni employed at Brown’s.

Brown’s owner Derek Brown said he has several HFM graduates working at his three auto centers in Amsterdam and Johnstown. Brown’s also routinely hosts interns at their shops. In fact, a few HFM seniors took advantage of the tour Wednesday to finalize their paperwork for upcoming internships later this spring. Each year, students who attend one of HFM’s 16 career and technical programs complete internships at local businesses. This year, Brown’s will work with four Auto Body students for two weeks.

“We love to have interns working with us,” Brown said, adding that his technicians understand the value of educating future coworkers.

Many internships blossom into job offers.

Students stand on the repair floor at Brown's Ford talking with Instructor John Ackermann and Brown's employee Tom Farker

HFM Auto Body students talk with Tom Fraker, an HFM graduate who has worked at Brown’s for 25 years.

2020 Northville graduate Nicholas DeRonda has been working at Brown’s since he started working there when he was in the HFM Auto Body program. DeRonda now works at the new collision center with another HFM alum, Tom Fraker. Fraker also graduated from the Auto Body program and has worked at Brown’s for the last 25 years.

HFM Auto Body Instructor John Ackermann said it’s important for students to see first-hand the type of workplace where they may intern or work full time in the future.

“Local businesses have opportunities available for our students and their skills and work ethic are in demand,” Ackermann said.

Principal Michael DiMezza said all 16 programs at the HFM Career and Technical Center work closely with business partners and each program has an established advisory committee of local employers.

“Our business partners work with us to ensure our curriculum is relevant so our graduates are positioned for success in the workforce or when pursuing additional education,” DiMezza said.

To learn more about the HFM Auto Body Repair program visit:

Two student stand in front of Derek Brown as he sits

Brown’s owner Derek Brown completes paperwork for two HFM students who have been accepted for internship at Brown’s this spring. A total of four Auto Body students will perform internships with Brown’s this year.