DODGE CITY, Kan., November 5, 2019 — An agreement for a new partnership between DC3 diesel technology and Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) was approved at the October DC3 Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
This new partnership, called the Get Ahead Program, is a nationwide cooperative effort between DTNA, participating diesel schools, and DTNA service network locations that offer diesel schools access to Internet-based training free of charge.
In this case, the “diesel school” is DC3, and the “DTNA service network location” is Truck Center Companies (TCC). TCC is one of the nation’s largest full-service Freightliner dealerships with 12 business locations, including one in Dodge City.
The idea for starting the Get Ahead partnership at DC3 originated from a diesel tech advisory board meeting last spring, Colby Kline, DC3 professor of diesel technology, said.
The advisory board is made up of businesses who hire DC3 students and provide needed feedback regarding diesel tech curriculum. And one of the businesses represented on the board is TCC.
“The board helps us in so many ways,” Kline said. “Besides being the businesses who hire our students, they also help us get equipment at reduced rates.”
So, after the advisory board meeting, Kline and the TCC recruiting director, Jim Walsh, began working on the partnership. Part of this collaboration resulted in TCC bringing a new Freightliner truck to campus for Senior Day back in September.
“In a nutshell, students can get access to all the online training that’s available to a professional technician on our Freightliner and Daimler products, while they’re still in college,” Walsh said. “The benefit for a company like ours is we invest thousands and thousands of dollars in training people after they graduate, and it just accelerates our training curve.”
Typically, TCC spends about $50,000 in training costs for each new technician they hire, Walsh said.
Through the Get Ahead Program, diesel tech students receive access to all the online training that Freightliner technicians get. And if they complete the training, they become system certified for any company who completes warranty work on Daimler products, such as Freightliner, Detroit Diesel, Western Star and Thomas Bus.
In addition, every participating school receives 10 copies of DiagnosticLink for free. DiagnosticLink is a computer-based diagnostic software for Detroit powertrain and Freightliner vehicle systems. It can display engine control unit information, diagnostic fault codes, and instrumentation, as well as run service routines.
Jeff Cole, DC3 professor of diesel technology and workforce development chair, said the program definitely puts students a step ahead when they start their jobs, in terms of training. But it also can bring a potential pay bump, he said.
“The strength of this program is students will get job training here at DC3, which is at the same standard as what the industry provides,” Cole said. “The training through this program also will be more up to date than a textbook-based curriculum, because information becomes obsolete so quickly these days due to changes in technology.”
Another bonus to the Get Ahead program is that diesel tech instructors, such as Cole and Kline, can stay current with their certifications more easily.
“I’m excited about the program,” Cole said. “I think it will help open doors for other partnerships, because a lot of companies are begging for good diesel technicians.”