Most trucking industry analysts expect the diesel technician shortage to tighten in coming years, creating aggressive competition for new tech school graduates.
"The technician shortage is a real problem," says Randy Jones, dealer training manager for Kenworth. "And there's no doubt that much of the profitability of truck dealerships and truck fleets can be tied to the performance of technicians.
Kenworth is working closely with the school to integrate Kenworth training materials, providing students an emphasis in Kenworth systems and components. For example, students taking a course in truck electronics also learn specific Kenworth systems.
"They are not only learning the fundamentals, but the specifics that will allow them to go to work for a Kenworth dealer or a Kenworth customer with a working knowledge of Kenworth systems and components," Jones says.
According to Dick Reed, NADC's operations coordinator, the partnership with Kenworth provides the college with a consistent source of employment placement for graduates.
At 1,400-students, NADC is one of the largest diesel tech programs in the U.S.
As the program at NADC is refined, Jones says it will grow to other schools as Kenworth evaluates the staff, facilities and curriculum of prospective tech school programs throughout North America.