KILLEEN - Caliber Collision offers a Changing Lanes course to help soldiers transition from military to civilian life.
The 18-week course teaches soldiers basic body work skills--from fixing dents to scratches, repairing bent frames and working with plastic bumper issues.
Retired Master Sergeant Michael Sadler had no prior mechanic experience when he decided to take the course. Now he is an instructor. He said 90 percent of Changing Lanes is hands-on experience, with about 10 percent classroom instruction.
Soldiers can join the class when they are within six months of finishing their service.
Sadler said it is a good promise of job security for the soldiers' future. Master Sergeant Kevinoid Little, an Active Guard Reservist, has served for 29 years and owns his own drag racing team.
"Yes definitely great transferrable experience because, you know, Caliber gives us the opportunity to join the workforce while we're still on active duty time so I mean provided the assets Caliber has, it's top notch training second to none," Little said.
Caliber takes soldiers with varying levels of mechanic experience, according to the program leaders.
"We have a lot of soldiers now and a lot in previous courses that were previous mechanics, but, and then on the other side, there are soldiers that come through the class, me including, that had no experience, mechanical experience, as far as any certifications, any type of mechanic or body," Sadler explained.
The course also offers certification in welding and air conditioning.
Once the troops complete the program, they are placed at one of hundreds of locations across the country. They are also paired with a mentor, according to Sadler. There are 525 Caliber Collision shops nationwide, he said.
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