Ozarks Technical Community College welcomed elected officials and community business leaders Monday morning for a ribbon cutting on the new MHC Diesel Technician Training Center.
The new center increases the amount of students that can receive diesel tech training by 50 percent.
“OTC is such a jewel in our community,” Mayor Ken McClure told OI. “And this is helping meet a major need in workforce development. We have between OTC and Missouri State two fabulous institutions. Their growth is good for all of us.”
The new training center is an addition to the college’s original diesel training facility inside the Industry and Technology Center. The new center offers OTC the ability to do things they were not able to do in the past, such as pulling a semi-truck with full length trailer into the facility to teach trailer related tasks. It also allows for 9 trucks to be in the lab for teaching work over the previous limit of 3 trucks.
“This expansion is important to OTC but more importantly it’s very important to our business community,” OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon told OI. “Springfield…is a transportation hub and we have a severe shortage of diesel mechanics. So it’s important to OTC but it’s more important the community and the students who want those good paying jobs.”
The diesel technology program offers a one-year certificate or a two-year associate degree. The college has been averaging 35 graduates from the program every year but now with the expansion hope to double that number.
“OTC is a bright spot in education in the Springfield area,” State Rep. Steve Helms told OI. “It fills that niche between four year degrees and ‘what am I going to do after high school?’ You can make a very decent income in diesel with this program they offer at OTC.”
The 12,500 square foot building cost $2 million and was paid for by federal grants, donations from local businesses and OTC. The center opened for students January 14th with more than 100 students enrolled in the program.