(Acworth, Ga. – Jan. 4, 2017)
Thanks to an allocation of state world-class lab funding, Chattahoochee Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology diploma program, located at the North Metro Campus, 5198 Ross Road in Acworth, will grow in 2017.
“With nearly 100 students enrolled in the Diesel Equipment Technology program during the 2015-2016 school year, the program is ready for updates and expansion,” Marcy Smith, dean of business and technical studies, said.
The new equipment, which is expected to arrive this spring semester, includes new trucks and engines as well as training and simulation equipment to help students get a hands-on feel for the line of work. In addition, the Diesel Equipment Technology lab has nearly doubled in size thanks to the modification of the existing facility, which will allow the college to plan for an eventual specialization for light diesel trucks and off-road diesel equipment.
“We have been enjoying the extra room for a little while, but we’re really looking forward to the new equipment,” instructor Evan Dover said. “Everything we currently have in our truck fleet is out of date and going obsolete, but we’re expecting to get in all 2010 model year or later trucks.”
Dover said he is most excited about the college acquiring a dash trainer for students.
“It’s a freightliner dash simulator where students can actually do bug testing and electrical maintenance,” Dover said. “Then, we’ll take students from the simulator and put them on the exact same truck in the shop. They’ll be working on the dash simulator first and learning everything behind the scenes, then they’ll go and see the exact same dash on the actual truck.”
Dover said graduates of the program are poised for employment thanks to the program’s service area, with more than 90 percent of graduates finding a position in the field.
“You can stay right here and get a job,” Dover said. “If you live in Bartow County or the Cobb County area, you can drive 15-20 minutes down the road and find a good job. The jobs are everywhere.”
The Department of Labor reports the 2015 median pay for graduates of the program employed in the field is $44,520 a year, or about $21.40 an hour.
In addition, Dover said employment opportunities at nationally-recognized companies are also available.
“The same companies that hire out of the for-profit schools come right here and hire students out of Chattahoochee Tech,” Dover said. “You can come here and get a good education and not spend $30,000. You can be in and out in four semesters, and the state of Georgia will help pay for it with the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant (SIWDG).”
The SWIDG is a financial award that pays $500 per semester to students in a number of diploma and certificate programs, including Diesel Equipment Technology. In 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal’s office and the Georgia legislature approved $35.8 million over three years to fund the development of, or renovations to, world-class labs at Georgia’s technical colleges in order to help create a 21st-century workforce in Georgia. The lab renovations are essential to help Georgia technical colleges keep pace with ever-changing advances in technology in the workplace.