By Joe Bachman
Mid-State Technical College held a grand opening for it’s new diesel technology center on Friday with an open house of the facility and ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Employment of diesel engine specialists and truck mechanics is expected to grow 11% in the next 10 years, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study. Attendees were invited to be a part of this, as demonstrations and techniques were shared by diesel technicians in the facility.
“There is a shortage of diesel technicians in central Wisconsin,” said Mid-State President Sue Budjac. “Mid-State responded to this shortage by doubling the number of diesel technicians that we accept into our diesel and heavy equipment program.”
The college board of directors approved $1.5 million dollars to build the new facility, as well as receiving a $147,000 grant from the Blueprint for Prosperity Department of Workforce Development. The new center has 7,000 square feet of space that includes an open classroom and lab area. The facility holds enough room for four semi-tractors, as well as other heavy equipment. The Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technician Program and the Automotive Technician Program both follow National Automotive Training Education Foundation (NATEF) standards.
Senator Julie Lassa was on hand and spoke about the importance of keeping jobs in central Wisconsin through efforts and education of this program.
“The fact is these are good paying, family supporting jobs,” said Lassa. “That’s why I’m so glad all the people here at Mid-State took the step forward to really engage this type of classroom learning environment, and double the number of students going through this program.”
Also on hand at the event was Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink, and the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.