During the last legislative session (2016), the Idaho Legislature increased appropriations by nearly 10 percent to Lewis-Clark State College’s Career & Technical Education program and the college received the last piece of equipment covered under that funding.
The legislature increased appropriations by nearly 10 percent during the 2016 legislative session and with the increase in funding, LCSC officials were able to purchase new equipment and training aids in several areas.
The final equipment piece is a Caterpillar Tier Four engine, worth approximately $60,000. The engine will help diesel technology students in a variety of ways, including repairs and emissions tests. This is a 400 HP engine, similar to engines used in several Caterpillar machines.
This engine is connected to a computer, which gives instructors two ways to teach students – (1) They can program the computer to give the engine a diagnostic issue, or (2) instructors can physically alter the engine to create the problem that needs to be troubleshooted. In both situations, students must figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.
LCSC previously used the funding to include the hiring of an additional instructor for the Diesel Technology program, which will help increase the number of students accepted into the program.
Andy Kuther, who graduated from LC about a decade ago, was hired to help the diesel program with its goal of reaching more students. Diesel Technology has had a waiting list for the past nine years and with the additional instructor, the program will add 12 students this spring to increase its capacity to 36 students.
In the past professors, Bill Frei and Jay Kimble have taught both the 12 freshmen and 12 sophomore diesel students. Now 12 more students were added for the 2017 spring semester with the goal of adding 12 more for the 2018 spring semester as long as building space allows.
Frei said the extra graduates in the program should help the state because there is a shortage of diesel technicians through Idaho and the nation. He said there is usually a waiting list from anywhere from two to 15 students wanting to get into the program each year.
The Diesel Technology program also received $224,000 to buy new equipment to replace some of the older training aids. The biggest purchase was a 2016 Kenworth semi truck worth around $160,000.
“This truck will be used in most of our training courses, from drive systems, braking systems, accessories, electrical, and of course the diesel engines course,” Frei said.
The program also replaced its older overhaul engines with six engines, all 2012 models or newer. Officials were able to find and purchase the engines from a wrecking yard in southern Idaho. The engines, along with the purchase of specialty tools needed to work on them, cost $61,500.
Frei said some of the older engines that were previously used in the program were from 1991 and the newer models allow the students to work with the latest technology in doing repairs and overhauls.
“The state coming through with this money means so much to us,” Frei said. “This will really benefit our students.”
The diesel program has had 100 percent placement with its graduate over the past three years, according to Frei and Mark Smith, the T&I Division Chair. They said many of the students work at various shops around the Lewiston area and are sometimes hired by that company upon graduation.
Frei said he’s happy to have Kuther on as an instructor. He said Kuther was a two-time state Skills USA champion at LCSC and went to the national competition both years he was a student. Frei said it’s rare for a freshman to be a state champion, and Kuther is a great addition to the staff.
Other T&I programs also benefited from the funding increase.
The Collision Repair Technology program added an instructor, assistant professor Like Thomas, who has won awards in paint refinishing and detailing. Previously, Clarence Griffin was the lone instructor and was teaching the second-year sophomores and the first-year freshmen at the same time.
Welding Technology was able to purchase a new hydraulic brake, and the Auto Mechanics Technology program replaced its 15-year-old vehicle alignment machine with a $70,000 new one.
The new Millwright program and Industrial Motor Training received new training equipment and materials, including a hydraulic trainer, and Industrial Electronic Technology bought training equipment for temperature and pressure control systems.
The CNC Machining Technology Program also purchased training equipment for mill and rigging.
“Our faculty has done a great job of building training aids, but being able to purchase new equipment is something we’ve needed,” Smith said. “And we’ve received great support from our local industries as well.”