More than 275,000 diesel mechanics are employed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Each year, however, there are roughly 28,500 diesel tech and mechanic job openings that go unfilled.
To foster interest in the next generation, ag companies, like Titan Machinery, are rolling out new, hands-on programs that offer students tech experience in diesel basics, including:
• Fuel systems
Titan’s program, Diesel Camp, hosted 9th and 10th grade high school students at four community and technical colleges in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota this month.
“Through these camps, our goal is to increase awareness of and interest in career and technical education programs and ensure students appreciate the income potential and lifestyle advantages of skilled trade careers,” said Sarah Kenz, talent acquisition manager at Titan Machinery, West Fargo, N.D.
The camps ranged in length from two to four days and saw more than 140 students. Feedback from participants showed they most enjoyed getting their hands dirty and running heavy equipment.
“My favorite part of camp was learning about engines and how to adjust the valves on an engine. I also liked learning about the new technology that will be used in the future,” one student said of the experience.
While Titan’s event saw participation from both genders, a study from Stanley Black and Decker reveals high school boys are more likely to be drawn to a skilled trade, like diesel mechanics, than girls. Similarly, parents of boys are more likely to see a trade career as an appealing option.
To continue to foster interest from all students, Titan is working on adding more camp pitstops to their 2024 roadmap.
“The response was overwhelming,” Kenz said. “We’re already looking for dates in May through July of 2024 and hope to host even more students through this program.”