Women in Diesel: Wallace State hosting event to recruit future diesel technicians

PHOTO: Wallace State Diesel Technology student Lucie Moore works on an engine. The college is hosting a Virtual Meet and Greet on March 17 for those interested in learning more about the program. (Photo courtesy of WSCC)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Wallace State’s Diesel Technology program is working to attract more women into the program and open doors to a successful career in a field normally associated with men. A grant provided by the National Science Foundation is aiding in those efforts.

“Women shouldn’t feel they don’t have a chance in succeeding as a diesel technician,” said Jeremy Smith, head of the WSCC Diesel Technology program. “Slowly but surely, we are seeing more women in the industry, and they are able to do the job just as well as their male counterparts.”

On Thursday, March 17, at 5:00 p.m., the program will offer a virtual Women in Diesel Virtual Meet and Greet via Zoom for anyone interested in learning more about Wallace State’s program. Along with meeting faculty and staff, prospective students will get to meet women who are currently in the program and who are working in the industry to ask any questions they may have.

Along with its traditional on-campus classes, the Diesel Technology program offers a Diesel by Distance option for students who need a more flexible schedule. It allows students to learn skills remotely using virtual reality before coming to campus to demonstrate what they’ve learned during skills checkoffs. A demonstration of the virtual reality simulations will be provided during the session.

Information will also be provided about scholarships, on-the-job training and more. No diesel experience is required to enroll in the program or attend the session.

“Diesel Technology graduates are critical to the future of our economy and national supply chains,” said Wes Rakestraw, WSCC dean of Applied Technologies. “If you want a good paying career with strong job security, Diesel Technology is a wonderful option.”

Most graduates from the Diesel Technology program go on to find work with a starting pay of $16 to $24 per hour, with opportunities for advancement as more certifications are earned.

The program can also be useful to current entry or lower-level diesel technicians who wish to earn credentials they can use to advance in pay and position within their current company or as they seek new employment.

While the meet and greet is geared toward women, men seeking information about the program are welcome to attend.

To register for the Women in Diesel Meet and Greet, visit https://womenindiesel.eventbrite.com or contact Anna Beard at 256-352-8356 or anna.parrish@wallacestate.edu.

The National Science Foundation last year awarded the college a three-year, $279,336 grant aimed at increasing women and adult learners in diesel technology training.

Wallace State’s project, titled “Developing and Implementing Hybrid Instruction to Increase the Access of Women and Adult Learners to Diesel Technology Training,” will include a partnership with the National Institute of Women in Trades, Technology and Sciences to increase the diversity of students entering the Diesel Technology program, ultimately providing more opportunities and jobs for women and other adult learner populations under-represented in the diesel technology field.

The Alabama Department of Labor estimates that Alabama companies will need to hire 3,000 diesel technicians over the next six years.