LCSC Diesel Tech. program receives $10,000 grant
The Lewis-Clark State College Diesel Technology Program received this week the Caterpillar Dealer Excellence Fund Matching Grant worth $10,000 from the Caterpillar Foundation.
LCSC Diesel Technology Assistant Professor Bill Frei says the grant will be divided evenly between scholarships for the Diesel Technology program and to repair dynotesting equipment, which is used to test diesel engines at LCSC.
Frei said LCSC received the grant, thanks to the support from Western States Equipment Company of Lewiston. Western States is a Caterpillar dealer. To apply for the grant, a caterpillar dealer must work with a post-secondary school in a joint application process.
Frei says Western States has a great relationship with the LCSC Diesel Technology program. The company has hired 56 diesel technicians from the program to work for the company.
“They are a huge supporter of our program,” Frei says. “They trade heavy equipment back and forth with us and really help our program.”
Frei says the goal with scholarships is to help fill the demand for diesel technicians. He says there is a nation shortage of diesel technicians and that the current average wage for a diesel technician with an Associates Degree is $15.56 an hour.
“There is tremendous demand right now,” Frei says. “Last year, we had 176 job opening ads on our walls so if we had the students, we could place them. Right now, we have 95-99 percent job placement and the wages have gone crazy.”