Legacy. As defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past. As diesel enthusiasts, if do not teach — or transmit — our knowledge to future generations, we are doomed. That’s not to say that all knowledge will live forever. While I learned how to work on a carburetor, my grandkids will surely need to focus on fuel injection.
That said, teaching kids how to do more than add, subtract, and multiply is something that many seem to neglect. I am a proponent of teaching life skills in school and not just reading, writing, and arithmetic. Kids should at least have a basic knowledge of “how to” in regard to other things that are a part of life. Whatever happened to shop classes in school?
I can remember learning basic mechanical skills, how to melt two pieces of metal together, and a basic mechanical aptitude about how things are put together. While places like the local quick lube mean nobody has to change their own oil or those big-box hardware stores have authorized installers who can plug in your new refrigerator for you, basic life-skills knowledge should still be a part of all curriculum. Luckily, some schools have the same philosophy.
I recently got an email from Matthew Harding, the commercial truck technology instructor at Lorain County JVS (LCJVS) in Oberlin, Ohio who opened my eyes to a great “diesel school” that I am glad is accessible to anyone.
The Lorain County JVS offers accredited career-technical education for high school students in grades 9 through 12 and adult learners. Through their programs, students gain the skills, knowledge, and training needed to be successful in their careers. Located on a 100-acre campus in Oberlin, Ohio, LCJVS is one of the largest career tech schools in the state, serving high school students from 13 school districts. The school’s mission is to create opportunities for students to achieve success in their careers.
At the Commercial Truck Technology program at Lorain County JVS, students learn to repair and maintain diesel engines that power transportation equipment such as heavy trucks and buses. In addition to basic skills such as welding, using oxyfuel equipment, and digital electronics, they learn to service, repair, and maintain vehicles using hand and power tools as well as modern computer diagnostics.
According to the school’s PR/Marketing Coordinator, Cheryl Fridenstine, “the Lorain County JVS Commercial Truck Technology program was one of the original programs when Lorain County JVS opened its doors in 1971. LCJVS was started because the Governor of Ohio at the time, Jim Rhodes, wanted to make sure that the State of Ohio was able to main and grow various key economic drivers important to the state economy and workforce.”
Signing Up For Diesel School
Enrollment in this diesel school is easy, as students from surrounding school districts can get involved in the LCJVS Commercial Truck Technology program as early as the 10th grade. Students can come to LCJVS as sophomores and shadow different career tech labs each quarter. This helps the students make an informed decision when applying for one of the two-year career tech programs. Students can also apply to come to LCJVS as juniors and enter directly into the Commercial Truck Technology program. Students work with their school counselors and fill out an online application to attend LCJVS.
Student Alex Gladish, a senior, from North Ridgeville, Ohio knew the career path he wanted to take and found that Lorain County JVS would be a great fit to help him achieve his career goals. “I toured Ohio CAT and decided that I wanted to go through their program and because of that, I toured Lorain County JVS and found this program and thought it would be a good stepping stone to get me to my end goal.”
Alex is learning a wide variety of skills in this diesel school program that he feels will help him be ahead of the curve when he applies for the Ohio CAT internship after high school. “We have been through steering, suspension, air brakes, and fuel pumps, and now I’m tearing down engines. I’m happy that I made the choice to come to Lorain County JVS.”
Knowledge For The Future
Program highlights include ASE Certified, Brakes, Diesel Engines, Drivetrains, Electrical and Electronic Systems, Heating and Air Conditioning, Preventative Maintenance Inspection, and Suspension and Steering. Also, see attached the full competency profile for the program.
Career Pathways for the program:
- Diesel Truck Technician
- Heavy Equipment Technician
- Mobile Service Technician
- Service Consultant
- Service Writer
Career Pathways with additional training for the program:
- CNG Vehicle Technician
- Diesel Engine Specialist
- DOT Safety Coordinator
- Marine Engine Specialist
- Mobile Generator Technician
- Oil Field Equipment Technician
Dr. Glenn Faircloth, Lorain County JVS superintendent is rightfully proud of the school. “The field of diesel heavy equipment technicians is very important because no matter how much the world changes, we must have a way to transport goods and supplies. The Lorain County JVS Commercial Truck Technology program students will learn how to help keep America on the road.”
Matthew Harding, LCJVS Commercial Truck Technology instructor agrees with Faircloth when he states, “we rely on medium and heavy trucks, and diesel engines, for almost every aspect of our lives. So much of what we own is brought to us by something with a diesel engine. We rely on diesel mechanics to maintain ambulances, garbage, fire and delivery trucks, military vehicles, and a multitude of other vehicles. A dedicated diesel or truck program puts a student with those interests a few steps ahead into a rewarding, and high-demand line of work. I hope that a graduate of this program will be ready to enter the workforce as an apprentice or entry-level employee, fine-tune their skills, and enjoy a rewarding, challenging, and important career.”
Proof It Works
While I wholeheartedly support programs like this diesel school, it’s great to hear from current students who can give a real-life opinion about the experience they get at LCJVS. Mason Daniels, a sophomore at Lorain County JVS, has the opportunity to shadow different career tech programs throughout his 10th-grade year. One program he selected to shadow was the Commercial Truck Technology program. “I wanted to get some hands-on work with the larger diesel trucks and semis and learn more about the brakes and motors and how everything works. During my time in the lab, I was able to help take a motor apart and put it back together. Being able to shadow the different transportation programs is really helping me see what I want to do in the long term after graduation.”
James Smith, a Lorain County JVS Commercial Truck Technology 2016 alumni, is currently a CDL truck driver with Mast Trucking in Holmes County. “Going to Lorain County JVS focused my studies more and provided me clarity on what I wanted to do as my career,” shares Smith. “They will help you learn how to grasp the material, not only in academic studies but on the technical side too. If you put 100-percent into JVS, they will put 100-percent into you!”
While I fully understand that reading, writing, and arithmetic are vital skills everyone needs, the LCJVS diesel school is taking it much further by ensuring we have the people we need in the places where they are needed to keep this country running smoothly.
If you are interested in learning more about the LCJVS curriculum, you can check out everything they offer by clicking here.
If you are not near the Ohio school, you can locate a technical school near you by clicking here.