Grant to help Fremont area diesel students

Disel engine

New tools are coming to the Metropolitan Community College’s Fremont Area Diesel Academy. The Metropolitan Community College Foundation was the recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation.
The grant money will go toward new tools in the Fremont Area Diesel Academy, a program open to both college and high school students at Fremont High School to get hands-on experience working on diesel trucks and engines. Students learn the latest technology in engine repair, power generation, hydraulic and electrical systems and more. The academy allows high schoolers to gain college credit toward the career certificate or associate degree programs.
“We are pleased to support this innovative educational opportunity for our area youth,” says Melissa Diers, executive director of the Fremont Area Community Foundation. “Preparing our young people for success in life and vocation, ideally right here at home, is vital for a successful community. We are happy to be a partner in the collaborative effort to bring this program to the Fremont area.”
Deb Eppenbaugh, executive director of the Applied Technology Center, said that the College is buying tools so students have the supplies they need to do the work that needs to be done in class and the real world.
“Students in our trades programs – tools are needed for them to go onto internships and classroom work. It’s a huge financial barrier,” Eppenbaugh says. “Our programs can be up to $7,000 for a set of tools. What we wanted to do was make sure that these academy kids didn’t need to buy tools. We are buying tools and tool carts and making sure we have the equipment that’s needed to be successful.”
Eppenbaugh said they have purchased some of the tools and are still in the process of buying the rest. She said that having these new tools for students can really make a difference.
“It’s really a game changer for the students. High school students don’t have the means to go out and buy the tools because they aren’t eligible to apply for financial aid,” Eppenbaugh says.
Job growth in the diesel industry is expected to jump about 12 percent, Eppenbaugh says. Having these tools and the demand for jobs is great for MCC students.
“This is a career that our students can leave here and make a living wage,” she says. “The way MCC sets it up, they get this and they’re debt free. To me that’s a major piece.”