CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Parkland College’s Collision Repair Program will begin giving students real life training through local businesses.

Administrators said apprenticeships with collision repair shops will now account for half of their learning. The plan is to focus on work in the classroom for the first eight weeks. Next, the students will pair with garages so they can work on cars firsthand, 40 hours a week.

Jon Ross, Faculty Chair of Applied Sciences and Technologies at Parkland, said this type of approach has worked well with another one of their programs.

“We’ve been practicing this eight-week-on, eight-week-off piece with our Ford Asset Program for a number of years, and we really are finding great success with that,” Ross said. “Younger students today really enjoy that idea, that I’m going to earn and learn at the same time.”

Ross said the money made at these apprenticeships can help offset much of tuition’s cost, and connecting with local business also offers students motivation to stay engaged and complete their education.