Northwest diesel tech program underway in Panola County
Published 3:21 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021
By Natalie Ehrhardt
Northwest Mississippi Community College’s new Diesel Technology program is officially up and running, welcoming its first class of students in the Fall 2021 semester.
The Diesel Technology program is the first to find a home at The Concourse in Batesville.
“Northwest was pleased to welcome 12 students to the inaugural semester of the Diesel Technology program at The Concourse,” said Dr. Matthew Domas, vice president of Instruction. “We are very excited about the continued support of the program from our regional business partners.”
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.
“In the short time we’ve been in class, my students are on the edge of their seats with eagerness to learn,” said Brad Roe, Diesel Technology instructor. “The Concourse is a truly amazing building. I believe we are going to turn out first rate diesel technicians in this pilot year and every year afterwards.”
According to research conducted by the Associated Equipment Distributors Foundation (AEDF), the heavy equipment industry is losing $2.4 billion in potential revenue due to the shortage of diesel technicians. Hiring skilled workers is critical for business growth. Northwest is positioned to help solve this shortage, and desires to infuse the industry with a workforce trained specifically to deal with the latest in diesel engine technology.
“So far, with everything we’ve learned up until now, it’s definitely a program worth doing,” said student Vernon Van Den Heever. “There’s been a lot we’ve worked on, and I’ve learned so much that I didn’t know.”
Industry representatives in Panola County consistently stated to county and economic development officials that there are not enough qualified applicants to fill positions, that employees require additional soft- and hard-skills training and that industry growth is hampered by these workforce deficiencies.
As a result, Panola County collaborated with the City of Batesville, the Panola Partnership, local industry, and Northwest to convert a 138,000-square-foot factory outlet mall building into a workforce training center to serve the North Mississippi region, called The Concourse. Programs at the new 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.
Photo: Northwest Mississippi Community College’s inaugural Diesel Technology class is winding down the program’s first semester at The Concourse in Batesville. Program students pictured are (front, from left) Daphne Fondren of Sardis, Vernon Van Den Heever of Oxford, Tyler Rodriguez of Oxford, Timothy Hamilton of Olive Branch, (back) Dylan Patterson of Pope, Wilfred Hughes of Oxford, Arterrias Williams of Senatobia, Jonvictor Arbuckle of Oxford, and Daniel Tutor of Southaven.