Building a Pipeline of Biodiesel Technicians for Careers in Fields and Cities
This project will develop a diesel/biodiesel certificate track in the Associate of Applied Technologies in Automotive Technology degree. This track is intended to address regional needs for diesel technicians who have the specialized technical skills needed to support current and emerging agricultural and urban applications. Employers across Illinois and the country have an urgent need for skilled diesel mechanics and there is a growing need for a workforce that can plan, design, build, and repair transportation systems and energy-efficient vehicles. The project will increase student interest in next-generation diesel technician careers by implementing strategies to serve underrepresented and underserved students with a dual focus on rural and urban schools. By preparing 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. This project will generate evidence regarding effective practices for using learning communities in rural technician education. Outreach and recruiting efforts will replicate successful efforts from other ATE projects that have been successful in engaging underrepresented students. Results will be disseminated throughout Illinois and to the ATE community. The project supports ATE's focus on rural technician education aligned with in-demand careers.
The goal of the project is to develop pathways to next-generation diesel/biodiesel technologies careers with a primary focus on providing a skilled workforce equipped to fill jobs in rural and urban sectors. The objectives of the project are: 1) implement a new diesel/biodiesel technology pathway program with stackable credentials; 2) train secondary and post-secondary faculty to recruit students, implement curriculum and instruction, collaborate with industry, and support rural and urban student success in technician education and careers; and 3) increase partnerships with rural and urban diesel technology employers to expand career opportunities for students and meet local and regional workforce needs. The project will improve student outcomes by providing secondary school educators with professional development and customized skill-training modules, emphasizing dual-enrollment courses, leveraging partnerships to provide students with 21st century work-based learning, and aligning curricula with industry standards. The project intends to produce these deliverables: aligned curriculum, new courses and a certificate in diesel/biodiesel technology, stackable credentials leading to college degrees, work-based learning, and recruitment and outreach collateral designed to engage underrepresented students. Graduates will be ready for work with industry partners, thus contributing to the nation's skilled technical workforce. Project materials and results will be widely shared and disseminated through statewide and national meetings.