With the technology driving today’s vehicles advancing rapidly, one program at Fred Eberle Technical Center focuses on a field that is changing day-by-day.
Charles Smith is the diesel technology instructor at FETC. His program offers students the opportunity to learn how to fix just about anything that has to do with trucks, school buses and other large vehicles.
“Our program has lots of hands-on activities,” Smith said. “Right now, students who are good at math and can follow the problems can get a job anywhere.”
Smith said modern vehicles are undergoing the same type of technological revolution seen in other industries.
“The electronics are unbelievable,” he said. “The vehicles today are moving with the same technology as iPads, computers and other electronics. Students need to be able to able to think fast.”
One advantage of the program at Fred Eberle Technical Center is ready access to a fleet of vehicles — school buses. Smith said some students are able to do internships at the Barbour, Lewis and Upshur County Schools bus garages.
“I have two former students who are working for the school system,” Smith said. “There is money to be made as a diesel technician, and there are jobs available. I have people call me all the time looking for employees. As long as the students are willing to work, we have jobs to place them.”
Buckhannon-Upshur High School senior Josh Loudin is currently enrolled in the diesel technology program at FETC. He took the class because he had friends who completed the program in the past.
“They said it was something great to get into,” Loudin said. “Since being in the diesel technology program I have learned all kinds of things.”
Like many others, Loudin said he entered the program with little knowledge about the subject but has learned quickly through the hands-on activities.
“Now, I can do just about anything,” he said. “I can diagnose problems, change the oil and change tires.”
Loudin said the diesel technology program at FETC will help him in the future.
“I have always wanted to run heavy equipment,” Loudin said. “I think it will fall in place. I will probably go to a technical training center after high school.”
The B-U senior has some advice for students who may be considering the diesel technology program at FETC.
“I think it is a good program for others, whether they are going to college or if they are going straight into the workforce,” Loudin said.