MONTICELLO, AR — A shortage of trained diesel mechanics and technicians has prompted the University of Arkansas at Monticello to create a Diesel Technology and CDL Training Academy, offering classes beginning with the 2016 fall semester at its campuses in Monticello and McGehee.
The academy was the idea of Bob Ware, vice chancellor of the UAM College of Technology-McGehee, who conducted extensive visits with business and industry leaders in southeast Arkansas in search of ideas for new programs vital to the region.
“What they told me was how desperate they were for trained diesel mechanics and technicians as well as drivers with commercial drivers licenses,” said Ware. “They had lots of jobs available but no one to fill them. They were sending people out of state to receive training that wasn’t available in Arkansas.”
Diesel technicians are in demand to service farm equipment, tractor-trailers, oil rigs, power plants, cargo ships, construction vehicles and school buses. “Last year the state school bus inspector grounded hundreds of buses because there were not enough mechanics to fix them,” Ware noted. “Schools are spending thousands of dollars to have their buses towed to Little Rock or Memphis to be repaired.”
The academy will offer two options, a technical certificate requiring three semesters of instruction, and a certificate of proficiency, which may be completed in one semester. According to Ware, the McGehee campus will hire a certified diesel instructor who will teach at both the McGehee and Monticello locations.
For more information, contact Sharon Cantrell, associate vice chancellor of the UAM College of Technology-McGehee, at (870) 460-2106.
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