The auto industry has been facing a crisis for years: There just aren’t enough diesel technologists to meet the demand of the growing public transportation, heavy agricultural equipment and commercial trucking industries.
Delaware Technical Community College, which soft launched a new Automotive Center of Excellence in Georgetown in the fall of 2020, recently unveiled a Diesel Technology Associate of Applied Science degree. The program will only be available at the Georgetown campus.
Automotive Technology Department Chair Mark E. Swarbrick said the training offered by Del Tech is unique to the region.
“There is no other diesel training available nearby, and the demand is tremendous,” said Swarbrick. “We are an all-purpose program in that we are not partial to one brand. With the training students gain at Delaware Tech, they should be able to do work on big trucks, medium trucks, or in the agricultural field on tractors and heavy equipment, with starting salaries of $41,000 to $58,000 and growing to six figures.”
Jennifer Suter-Powell is a student in the first cohort of the diesel program, which started in January, as well as a former Delaware Tech Automotive program graduate who has worked in the field. She said she’s impressed with the new facility.
“The engine training platforms are comparable to what I have experienced in the field,” she said. “In addition, the instructors and department chair are very supportive and go to great efforts to get whatever is needed for the students.”
Suter-Powell said she’s also interested in how electric and autonomous vehicle technology is being integrated into the heavy equipment field.
The next cohort in the Del Tech diesel program will begin next fall.