Pathways to Diesel Technology Careers for High School and Community College Students
In South Carolina, the diesel mechanics industry is expected to grow 13% between 2014 and 2024. This growth represents an estimated 6,900 annual job openings throughout the state. For example, the new international inland shipping port in Dillon, South Carolina, has created an urgent demand for skilled diesel technicians. To address this regional workforce gap, the project will develop a new diesel mechanics curriculum that incorporates best practices and existing resources in dual enrollment, stackable credentials, STEM education, technical skill training, industry partnerships, career awareness, and employability skills development. This project will also focus on providing this career preparation to rural and underserved students. By preparing rural high school students for careers in high-growth technical fields, the project has the potential to advance innovative methods for meeting the nation's changing employment needs. Findings from this project will be disseminated throughout South Carolina and may serve as a prototype model for learning communities interested in rural technician education throughout the United States.
This project will develop a model for diesel technology programs intended to produce highly skilled technicians who have a state-of-the art education and the skillset required for a successful future. This project will enable the collaboration of a technical college with rural school districts and industry partners to minimize barriers for the recruitment and retention of rural students by: 1) developing career pathways; 2) launching a newly approved and accredited diesel careers degree program; and 3) increasing the supply of qualified potential employees for the region's diesel technologies industries. In this effort, the college will leverage its interactive videoconferencing systems to provide virtual connections with rural high school classrooms and laboratories. High school ninth grade students will participate in career awareness modules, industry tours, and start dual enrollment STEM-focused computer courses. Tenth grade students selecting the diesel technology pathways will continue with online, hybrid, and classroom courses in relevant technology. Juniors and seniors will continue their dual enrollment and complete at least one National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certification by high school graduation. Students will be able to transition to the College's Diesel Technology major and participate in work-based learning and industry apprenticeships to complete their degree. Program completers will be ready for work with industry partners, thus contributing to the nation's skilled technical workforce.