Concourse diesel tech program awarded $1 million in grant money

Published 4:33 pm Friday, October 22, 2021

Northwest Mississippi Community College has been awarded a $1 million grant from Accelerate Mississippi and the Mississippi Office of Workforce Development that will benefit the growth of the college’s Diesel Technology Academy at The Concourse in Batesville.

The grant will allow for the purchase of new, cutting-edge equipment as well as aid in instructional costs and tuition assistance for qualified students.

“We are incredibly excited to receive this grant to expand student opportunities for enrollment in a high-demand, high earnings occupation,” said Northwest President, Dr. Michael J. Heindl. “Additionally, the value that this program will bring students by starting their careers with no debt is amazing.”

This brand-new instructional program will provide future industry employees with the skills required to maintain and repair a variety of industrial diesel equipment, including agricultural tractors, commercial trucks and construction equipment. The program includes instruction in inspection, repair and maintenance of engines, power trains, hydraulic systems, and other components.

The program was created in response to the nationwide shortage of diesel technicians and, locally, statements from leaders concerning the lack of qualified applicants to fill regional positions. Diesel technicians are in high demand in Mississippi. An annual average of 340 new diesel technician job openings within the transportation and agricultural industries are projected between now and 2028, according to labor market data from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES).

As a result, Panola County, the City of Batesville, the Panola Partnership, local industry, and Northwest collaborated to convert a 138,000-square-foot factory outlet mall building into a workforce training center called The Concourse to serve North Mississippi. Career technical and workforce training programs, along with adult education classes, at the site will be phased in over time.

For more information about the Diesel Technology program, contact Dwayne Casey, associate vice president for Workforce Solutions and Career-Technical Education, or visit the college online at northwestms.edu/career-tech.