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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

OTC to Expand Diesel Program Thanks to $1 Million Grant

Ozarks Technical Community College
Chloe O'Neill

Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield says it will use a $1 million grant to boost learning opportunities and enrollment in its Diesel Technology Program.

In addition to the grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, another $1 million is sought by the school to cover construction costs. That will include adding four new truck bays and four classrooms with learning labs.

“These trucks are huge so it’s a lot of space to be able to have these trucks in there for our students to work on them,” college director of communications Mark Miller said. “We have a lot of trucking companies in Springfield that hire our graduates.”

The Diesel Technology Program prepares graduates to work as mechanics and technicians for trucking companies. The expansion will allow 50 more students each year into the program, an increase from its current 35 diesel technicians.

The program has been offered since 1991, when the college first opened.

“The expansion will allow us to train more diesel mechanics to walk out of graduation into high-paying jobs,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College in a press release.

The school’s diesel mechanic job placement rate is about 80 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a diesel mechanic in Springfield is more than $41,000.

The college has already begun to raise the additional $1 million in private funds needed before construction begins. Miller said the construction must be complete by fall 2018.