Kansas Breaks Ground on Expanded Diesel School
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Kansas will be able to train more diesel technicians with a new $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
“This project will give students access to state-of-the-art equipment and the opportunity to work toward certification to work on commercial diesel trucks, setting up our students for career success,” diesel instructor Jason Cook noted.
The college was awarded EDA funding in 2021 under a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to help the state respond to the coronavirus pandemic. It also received a $150,000 matching grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, plus $85,000 from the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Jobs and Innovative Industry Skills Training program.
Northwest Tech President Ben Schears expressed his appreciation for the support the project has received, especially from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) for his backing of technical education in the state. Moran had announced the award of Northwest Tech’s grant as important in recovering from the pandemic by building a strong economy and providing “resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs to keep their lights on and employees on the payroll.”
Schears spoke about the groundbreaking: “This project will provide critical space on campus to address regional workforce and economic development needs in our area,”
The Institute of Diesel Technology will provide students with comprehensive training in agricultural and over-the-road dynamometers. The focus of much of the diesel technology program is to train students “to seek job opportunities in industrial/heavy equipment, general diesel repair or as a farm mechanic.” Students will learn about the use of electromechanical testing equipment, diesel calibration instruments, farm power machinery, heavy-duty truck and tractor repair, including electrical systems, transmissions, suspensions and braking.
Curriculum also covers complete engine overhaul, diesel, gasoline and natural gas fuel systems, hydraulic systems and air conditioning. Courses also are available for biodiesel technology. Applied shop instruction involves students working individually on customers’ truck and farm equipment.
Mike Furst of Volvo Trucks North America discusses a dealer-managed service plan that is paired with enhanced connectivity to cover all fleet preventative maintenance. Hear the program above and at RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
According to Northwest Tech, since 2010 the institute “has consistently placed more than 97% of its graduates directly into the workforce after graduation. A large part of this tremendous success is due to the program’s partnerships with regional businesses that help shape the coursework for the modern industry.”
When the grant was awarded, Dennis Alvord, then acting assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, predicted the EDA grant “will grow businesses and create jobs by expanding a diesel and automotive technician training and education program in northwest Kansas and supporting the capital needs of businesses in northeast Kansas.”
At that time Gov. Laura Kelly noted, “It’s not good enough to return to our economy before COVID-19, we must grow back stronger with more, higher-paying jobs and a healthier workforce. This federal money will help us achieve these goals and ensure Kansas can prosper now and into the future.”
Along with helping train students to meet local job needs, the project is expected to create nearly 300 jobs.
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