Truckworx and Wallace State Community College announced an enhancement of the longtime partnership between the company and the college’s diesel technology program on Thursday.
The partnership now includes the donation of a 2016 Kenworth T680 daycab truck, PACCAR engine, and Endurant transmission for use in both Wallace State’s traditional and “Diesel by Distance” programs.
“We are excited that we have the opportunity to invest in the future of our industry,” said Alabama Trucking Association Chairman and President of Truckworx, Will Bruser. “The students at Wallace State now have the opportunity to work and learn on ‘The World’s Best’ every day.”
In addition to serving traditional students on campus, Wallace State’s Diesel by Distance program allows students to earn the same academic degrees and certificates with limited visits to the school’s campus, located in Hanceville, Alabama. These distance learning students also have the ability to work at dealerships and trucking companies while learning in an academic environment.
“We build each student’s class schedule specifically for them,” Wallace State Diesel Technology Chair Jeremy Smith said. “That means we are open almost 24/7 to make sure all of our students are making the most of their opportunities. Our job is to be in the middle of our students and the industry and to cater to each side.”
The program utilizes virtual reality headsets to train its students, in addition to traditional hands-on learning in the shop. Each student is equipped with a headset, in addition to a computer and WiFi access, if needed. WSCC is the first, and only, school in the United States that employs this multi-million-dollar technology in its diesel technology program, according to the school.
Overall, Wallace State’s diesel technology program consists of 53 students, with 18 of those participating in the Diesel by Distance program, including six female students.
“In order to keep this industry moving forward, we have to continue to invest in the next generation of technicians and leaders,” Truckworx Vice President of Service Richard Williamson said. “By providing these students with up-to-date equipment and technology to learn on, we are not only investing in the future of Truckworx, but also the trucking industry as a whole. We are always looking for great technicians and Wallace State is a great partner in that venture.”
Through the ATA Foundation, the Alabama Trucking Association has created its Workforce Development Initiative, solely focused on recruiting new talent and individuals into the trucking industry. The initiative uses persona research to determine which individuals might be a good fit for the field.
“Successful programs like the diesel technology school at Wallace State are the pipelines that provide the professionals who make up Alabama’s trucking industry,” said ATA President Mark Colson. “Fortunately, we have a solid group of companies in the ATA like Truckworx that are taking a proactive approach and working with these academic programs to transform our workforce.”
Truckworx currently employs six graduates of Wallace State’s diesel technology program, in addition to another employee who is currently enrolled in the Diesel by Distance program.
“We look forward to continue partnering with Wallace State and the ATA Workforce Development Initiative for years to come,” Bruser said. “These relationships are something mutually beneficial for us and the future of our industry as a whole as these students get enrolled, trained, and into the workforce.”