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Students put pedal to the metal for Diesel Day
Photos and Story by James Hill
Robert Stafford came to PCC to earn his GED. He’ll leave PCC with an associate’s degree in Diesel Technology and a good job with Halton Co., a Caterpillar equipment dealer.
Stafford, 24, came to Oregon from Montana several years ago with his wife in order to be closer to family. He had worked some minor jobs with auto repair shops, but decided to enroll at PCC to pursue his education. That’s when he saw first hand the college’s Diesel Technology program.
It worked for him and now he will show more than 400 area high school students the opportunities in diesel work during PCC’s Diesel Day on Friday, April 21 at the Rock Creek Campus.
"It’s a really good idea," Stafford said. "Diesel Day is a good tool for high school students to figure out what is out there. We help students get a first-hand look at what the field is actually like."
Stafford is an example of how one can find a great career in Diesel Technology. In Montana, Stafford was a high school dropout working at a lube shop.
"I wanted to go a lot deeper than that," Stafford said. "I didn’t want to change oil all my life."
He said Diesel Day is a chance to show students the opportunities in the field and explore PCC’s Diesel Technology program. The event will offer hands-on learning sessions for the invited students who wish to find out what today’s diesel technicians do in the field.
"Many of our local heavy equipment and truck companies will be here to show products and talk to students about opportunities within the diesel service fields," said Russ Dunnington, diesel service mechanics instructor. "Everyone has a great time and they learn quite a bit. There is a bigger demand for diesel technicians today than I’ve seen in my entire career."
The fair makes an impression. Just ask Michael Baccellieri, also a second-year Diesel Technology student. The 19-year-old Banks resident attended Diesel Day as a high school student a few years ago and is now leading a presentation on the diesel drive train.
"We teach what it feels like to work with your hands," he said. "When I was here as a student it was fun to see how things worked and why they worked. I had a lot of fun doing it. Plus, they’ll learn that they can get a job anywhere in the world."