The mission statements for Southeast Community College’s (SCC) Diesel Technology programs, both Truck and Diesel-Ag, share a common goal:
Preparation for employment.
Both take two years to complete, and intake enrollment is 20 per program in the fall (late August) and spring (early January). Fall 2020 classes are full, and spring 2021 classes are currently filling.
Interest in the programs is largely tied to SCC’s opening of the Crete Carrier Diesel Technology & Welding Center on the Milford campus in January 2020. It is regarded as one of the finest diesel training centers in the country.
“Ours is the oldest program in Nebraska, and the Milford campus is one of the very first technical colleges in the nation,” said program director Lester Breidenstine. “SCC has a long tradition of providing students with skills that allow them to move directly into a position as a service technician who can continue to learn new skills as they grow within the business.
“We believe that hands-on learning is critical for students to be able to function during their Cooperative Experience course and upon graduation. Our facility is designed with component classroom/labs that are combined so the theory can be applied immediately in the lab.”
The Diesel Technology-Truck program is offered with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and is accredited by the ASE Education Foundation. Classes are led by ASE-certified instructors.
The program provides students with skills to become entry-level technicians in the diesel truck service industry. This includes expanding air brake training to include electronic braking systems, traction control, roll stability control and related interactive braking features.
The program develops interactive camera/camcorder technology as well as a diesel construction equipment technology certificate program (by the summer of 2022).
Diesel-Ag Equipment Service Technology students also earn an Associate of Applied Science degree to become highly-skilled entry-level technicians in the light/medium/heavy duty truck repair field.
The program focuses on expanding the instruction of computer area network (CAN) technology for AGCO and Case New Holland equipment. It also introduces and utilizes CDX online textbook transition.
A diesel construction equipment technology certificate program is expected to be developed by summer 2022.
“Our long-term goals include introducing strategies to fully use the new Crete Carrier Diesel Technology & Welding Center and promoting the lifelong career opportunities available to the next generation of America’s workforce as diesel technicians,” Breidenstine said.
“We also intend to link students to the essential industries that require an expanded number of technicians while working with our industry partners to maintain our standing as a state-of-the-art learning facility by keeping current with the changes in equipment technology.”
Breidenstine added that the Crete Carrier Diesel Technology & Welding Center includes best practices of industry and technical training.
Most notably, it handles contamination control measures for machinery and technicians, including having a large wash bay that accepts a combine harvester or semi-tractor for decontamination before entering the work area.
It offers spill control and used fluid/filter recycling plus new hydraulic and engine oil dispensed through a closed system and a floor scrubber for all work areas.
Advancements also include a large-screen and interactive media equipment in lab spaces for in-house or worldwide connectivity with training resources and a complete welding training center for Milford campus programs that require a welding component. In all, about nine SCC Milford campus programs use this facility.
“There are other diesel technology programs offered through the Nebraska Community College system, but industry demands for diesel technicians are so great that all of these programs combined will not meet the requirements for new positions and positions opening from retirement,” he said of the program.
“We meet annually with faculty and students from these other programs at competitive venues such as the SkillsUSA State Leadership Conference and the Nebraska Trucking Association ‘Super Tech’ competition.”
While the program is open to anyone, Breidenstine identifies students who have made a commitment to master fundamental technical skills, interpersonal relationships and a solid work ethic as those who will find tremendous opportunities in the diesel service and repair industries.
He added that he receives daily requests for diesel technician graduates as their skill set is in high demand.
He said the trend will continue as long as agricultural equipment and light, medium and heavy trucks are being sold, used and require service or repair. Program graduates also find employment opportunities in construction equipment, railways, aerospace and manufacturing.
“We are all dedicated to continuing the legacy we have inherited from past administrators, educators, industry sponsors and students of the Diesel Technology program at SCC,” he said. “The new Crete Carrier Diesel Technology & Welding Center will ensure our place for many years to come as a leader in providing skilled workers for America.”