The auto repair shop at Portland Community College (PCC), located just outside of Portland Oregon, is a fully functioning auto repair shop and a training facility for students to earn a degree in auto repair. The department received a grant to re-surface their floors and make improvements to their busy shop/classroom over the summer of 2013. While being an expert in auto repair, they knew they needed help improving the organization and design of the shop during the overhaul.
Russ Jones, instructor and department chair at PCC, decided to reach out to a local business for advice and help setting up the newly designed shop. After a little bit of research, Jones was able to get in contact with Creative Safety Supply (CSS), located just a few miles away. After a few emails the relationship between PCC and CSS was born. The company was able to provide the school with the supplies and advice they needed to become safer, more efficient and organized like they had never been before– all at no charge to the school.
The auto shop at PCC opened its doors back in 1970. The program offers the following ways for students to earn an education:
- Associate of Applied Science Degree
- Automotive Service Technology
- Two year Certificate: Automotive Service Technology
Students coming through the program are provided with cutting-edge knowledge in the industry’s best practices, along with the ability to specialize in their chosen field. The program allows for new students just getting started, the hope and dream of earning a degree and jumpstarting their career, as well as an opportunity for those who already have a career, an opportunity to upgrade their skills and earn credit for passing ASE/NATEF tests.
The program frequently has a waitlist and is one of the most sought after degrees in the college.
When Jones first reached out to CSS, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted, or needed for that matter. What he did know was that he wanted his shop to become safer and more efficient, while still providing the learning environment necessary for students to develop their skills.
“We want students to see what the industry standard is for visual safety and signage, not only here, but also what to expect when they go to work.” --Russ Jones, Instructor and Department Chair at PCC
CSS was able to take these concerns and based off what they had to offer, suggest several items to improve the overall safety and efficiency of the shop. Based off several emails (that included photos) and phone conversations, CSS was able to make the following recommendations:
- SafetyTac floor tape to mark off areas that are unsafe and provide pathways to direct guests and students while navigating the shop.
- Wall and floor signs to provide critical information at the time of need to eliminate guesswork and provide continuous information, when it’s needed most.
- LabelTac label maker to continue in their efforts and allow them to produce a label when it’s needed, rather than wait and risk the safety of the students.
Jones, along with other staff members at PCC, agreed that these items would be essential to improving their shop. They proceeded to fill out an official donation request form and set the ball in motion.
Creative Safety Supply’s philosophy:
CSS is an organization that prides itself on supporting non-profit organizations that work towards creating better, stronger, and healthier communities for all to enjoy, both locally and nationally. CSS understands each non-profit organization has its unique value to their communities needs and strives to support those needs, when possible. The annual budget at CSS has allocated funds for supporting these organizations, however no cash donations are available. The donation policy is solely based off the products CSS can provide to your organization. By working closely with your organization, CSS can determine the right products and needs to improve the safety and/or organization to help you out.
Things to consider when requesting donation supplies from CSS:
- Purpose of the event: How is your event going to better your community and create a safe atmosphere? What are the specific supplies you will need in order to run a safe and organized event? Almost all donation requests are in the form of a customized product. As a result, CSS requires a 60 day notice to process and supply donation requests in most cases.
- Your goals: What will you do with the products CSS is going to provide you with? Providing this information will help CSS determine if they are a good fit for your organization’s goals and mission.
- Our mission: As an organization, CSS is dedicated to safety and hazard awareness. We are always looking for positive ways to spread this message, whether it’s in the workplace or through community outreach programs.
Portland Community College and Creative Safety Supply:
One of the biggest concerns for Jones and his staff was safety. The shop has a high amount of traffic that includes students and customers flowing in and out on a daily basis. They needed the supplies to implement their ideas and sustain it for years to come.
The items that CSS provided included the above mentioned products and made an immediate impact on the shop.
“I was really impressed at how well things stood out, were clearly marked and defined, it’s really making a big difference.” -Kim Kittinger, auto shop instructor
“It’s really clear now where to put things and where we are supposed to go, it makes me feel good about where I work, it’s professional and clean.” -Bart Ouchida, auto shop instructor
CSS was able to provide enough floor tape to mark the entire shop floor, including hazard areas, walking paths and equipment locations. The shop also received floor signs and wall signs (some custom), to inform and raise awareness around the shop to pertinent information. Lastly, the shop received one of CSS’s LabelTac printers to allow them to print custom labels on-demand as-well-as compliance labels for the shop.
The relationship between PCC and CSS grew out of a mutual respect for visual safety and the benefits it would provide the students and guests of the auto shop. PCC was passionate about improving their safety culture in the shop. It was sincere and their involvement was key throughout the whole process. They were timely with their responses and gave clear information as to what their flaws were in the past.
PCC will continue its long tradition of putting skilled and educated students into the workplace. However, now they will do so in a safer environment that allows them to not only operate in safe conditions, but also see what a safe workplace looks like, so they can take that knowledge with them into their future careers.
If your organization feels like CSS could lend a hand in keeping your next event or project safe, please feel free to follow the link below and submit the request for donations accordingly.