Diesel Tech

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Putting high school students on diesel career paths

Salt Lake Community College plays a key role in a new program to allow high school students to integrate quickly into career paths in the diesel technician field.

Utah Diesel Technical Pathways encourages students to take diesel-tech classes in high school and continue in the diesel-tech programs at SLCC for a certificate of completion or an Associate of Applied Science degree. It offers hands-on internships through industry partners. The program was initiated by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, SLCC, Canyons School District and Jordan School District.

It will create a brighter future for students, said Brady Southwick, president of Cummins Rocky Mountain, one of the industry partners. The program was announced in February at Cummins with SLCC President Dr. Deneece G. Huftalin and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

It will help students toward “meaningful, lucrative and rewarding careers” as diesel technicians, Huftalin said. Herbert noted that it offers students more opportunities to succeed in one of the strongest state economies in the country.

Diesel technician students are entering careers that start in the $40,000 range and they can move up to about $100,000 within five years, said Kyle Treadway, president of Kenworth Sales Co., a partner in the pathways program. Diesel-tech programs nationwide are graduating about 3,500 students a year, but the need is much higher as nearly one-third of the country’s estimated 600,000 diesel-tech workers are leaving through attrition and retirement, Treadway said. “You can do the math yourself,” he said. “There is opportunity out there nationwide.”

Starting in high school at Canyons Technical Education Center helped Weston Emphenour better prepare for transferring to SLCC’s diesel tech program. “The instructors at SLCC are really great,” Emphenour said, adding that the hands-on learning environment and real-world experiences make a difference as he moves forward with his career.

Utah Diesel Technician Pathways Industry Partners

  • Cummins Rocky Mountain
  • Jackson Group, Peterbilt
  • Kenworth Sales Co.
  • Komatsu Equipment Corp.
  • Mountain West Truck Center, Volvo, Mack
  • Wheeler Cat Machinery