The mission of OTC’s diesel technology program is to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in careers within the diesel repair industry.
And the program recently added a big piece of technology – a very big piece – to help students with their training.
Deep inside the Industrial Transportation and Technology Center on the OTC Springfield Campus sits a new 2016 Peterbilt tractor with all the latest technological bells and whistles that students need to advance their diesel technology educations.
The vehicle cost $134,550 and was acquired with FY2015 Department of Elementary and Secondary Education grant money.
“It’s really high tech,” said Austin Rector, a student from Mountain Grove. “Getting something new in here will help us when we get out in the real world.”
The diesel technology program is an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) master certified program that focuses on medium and heavy-duty trucks. The curriculum follows the recommended tasks that will give the students the skills to be an entry-level mechanic.
Alex Perez, a student from Reeds Spring, said the complexity of the tractor would be a challenge for students.
“The new trucks, like ours, are a lot more complex, more electrical based. Before, it was more mechanical. Now, everything is more electronically controlled and that can cause more problems that will need repairing.”
The new tractor joins the 2006 Western Star tractor that the program has been using for the class.
“The students are going to have to learn on the new truck if they want to work anywhere in Springfield,” said Glenn Marcum, an OTC diesel technology instructor.
Marcum said the new tractor offers students the most up-to-date features for training.
“Having the new engine will be beneficial to everyone. It’s the newest, latest and greatest,” he said.
The program has enjoyed success in placing graduates in diesel technology positions in the area. Of the more than 30 students who graduated in 2014, more than half are in field-related jobs.
“It’s a position that businesses are after to fill,” Perez said. “In this area, there are a lot of jobs in this field and there always will be.”