The Transportation Services Program at Western Colorado Community College offers a certificate and degree for a heavy-duty diesel mechanic, which has attracted a new partnership with the Wagner Equipment Company. As part of the new partnership, Wagner Equipment pays WCCC fees to its employees. This apprenticeship program was developed in response to a nationwide diesel mechanic shortage that is also affecting western Colorado. The Learning at Less WCCC initiative has reduced tuition fees by 40%, allowing Wagner Equipment to offer this opportunity to more students.

“Wagner Equipment’s goal for this program is to always have a new class of students who want to enter diesel technicians, and provide them with high-quality long-term employment when they graduate,” said Tom Cat, Director of Parts and Service at Grand Junction. “We want to keep the locals here and we want to grow this business from the ground up in the local area.”

Wagner Equipment Company Sale, rental and complete rebuilding and overhaul of Caterpillar heavy equipment such as backhoe loaders, tractors and excavators. The company has 12 locations in addition to the Grand Junction branch – eight in Colorado, three in New Mexico and one in Texas.

“I am so grateful for what CAT is doing for me so I can continue to make more money and be more successful in life,” said student intern Bobbie Wallace. “The world needs more mechanics, especially diesel mechanics. Any shop you enter in the country is hiring and our economy depends heavily on truck drivers and construction equipment. I am just doing my part to make the world a better place and I am happy with the opportunity to learn from Rob, Mike, Jason and Jim at WCCC. They Excellent mentors.”

“The world needs more mechanics, especially diesel mechanics. Any shop you enter in the country is hiring and our economy depends heavily on truck drivers and construction equipment. I am just doing my part to make the world a better place and I am happy with the opportunity to learn from Rob, Mike, Jason and Jim at WCCC. They Excellent mentors.” Bobby Wallace, a freshman and student at the World College of Churches

Since 1881, Grand Junction has grown into a thriving center of distribution due to its location along Interstate 70 and other major trucking routes that intersect here. The central distribution company is just one of many large companies that have strategically chosen Grand Junction for their headquarters. With a fleet of more than 70 trucks, requiring routine maintenance and repairs by a team of diesel mechanics like those who graduated from the WCCC program, they serve more than 2,200 customers across western Colorado and eastern Utah and offer more than 7,200 general merchandise products.

In this busy area, heavy machinery in construction and agriculture works every day while hundreds of trucks filled with baby formula, groceries, medical supplies and retail merchandise pass by. There are dozens of understaffed diesel stores in Grand Valley working tirelessly to keep these machines off the ground and delivered in time to communities. Diesel mechanics opportunities are plentiful and so is the pay. WCCC is constantly looking for ways to support our local and national economy by providing the next generation with diesel technicians who keep it moving.

If you represent a company or organization wishing to partner with WCCC, please contact the Vice President for Community College Affairs, Brigitte Sonderman at 970.255.2700.

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Written by Hannah O’Daniel