Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced the Diesel Tech Pathways Program Tuesday, a program that will put more high school students on course to find jobs in the diesel service industry.
The learning program, announced during a news conference held at the Cummins Rocky Mountain facility in West Valley City, allows students interested in the diesel technician field, the opportunity for internships and classes that will allow them to enter the field as quickly as one year after high school.
“Productive education partnerships, such as the Utah Diesel Tech Pathways Program, are important investments in the state’s future,” Herbert said. “We are fortunate to have unique partnerships with industry and education leaders to better align workforce education with economic opportunities in Utah.”
The Diesel Tech Pathways Program begins in high school where the students must take specific classes. Following graduation, the students will complete an internship with one of the six partners available in the industry, and then complete at least one year of training at Salt Lake Community College. The six partners include Cummins Rocky Mountain, Jackson Group Peterbilt, Kenworth Sales Company, Komatsu Equipment Corporation, Mountain West Truck Center Volvo Mack, and Wheeler Cat.
“(The program) makes a very clear pathway for students to see their future, and get into their career as early as high school,” Deneece G. Huftalin, president of Salt Lake Community College, said. SLCC is the leading provider for technical education in Salt Lake County.
Brady South, president of Cummins Rocky Mountain, spoke about about the importance of the partnership. Through his career, he has worked with governments in over 70 countries, closely in 20 countries.
“This (Pathways Program) actually represents how it should be between government, industry leaders, and education leaders,” Southwick said. “They’ve been willing to trust one another, put aside any differences that they might have . . . and work hard to try to create this program for all the youth that are here today.”
Southwick added, “I think this is going to be a very positive thing for the state of Utah.”
Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, also addressed the importance of the collaboration, noting the importance of sustaining the diesel service industry.
“We are thrilled to see this program move forward because of what it would mean for that industry. . .keep our transportation systems moving forward,” Hale said. “This is an unprecedented partnership. It’s a great example of what Utah can do, with partnerships, with government.”
The collaboration began last October 2015, and certain school districts, notably Canyons and Jordan districts, are working to have a pilot program in place for the 2016-2017 school year.
Herbert talked about how important the program is for Utah’s growing workforce, and the state’s economic future, while adding that the state has one of the best, if not the best, economy in America.
“If we want a good quality of life, we need a healthy economy,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert said. “The Pathways Program is going to make sure you (students) see the future.”
“I see the future of Utah, and it’s very bright.”