According to Waste Management, students in Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Dickson’s diesel-powered equipment technology program will benefit from new hands-on learning opportunities courtesy of a recent donation from WM.
Jennifer McKay, senior communications specialist, presented a retired waste collection truck to Dr. Arrita Summers, president of TCAT Dickson, and Tommy Yarbrough, diesel powered equipment instructor, during a recent campus visit. McKay, along with other representatives from WM, spoke to students about the need for more trained technicians across the industry, noting that supply chain challenges have made it difficult to purchase a new truck and that maintaining the current fleet as it ages has become more important.
“We have developed an apprentice program to help train more technicians, but quite literally can’t train folks fast enough to keep up with the demand,” said Scott Harp, WM area fleet field support manager. “I’m inspired to see the energy and interest among students at TCAT Dickson, and we’re so glad to see one of our trucks get a second life and help them continue to learn and refine their skills.”
The diesel-powered equipment technology program at TCAT is a 20-month program through which students receive instruction in preventative maintenance, troubleshooting, engine analysis, disassembling engines, replacing defective parts, reassembling, and more.
“The donation of the WM Mack disposal truck will provide years of valuable live experience for our students,” said Yarbrough. “Having a truck with the fully functioning disposal bed not only gives us an opportunity to have hands-on experience with the truck engine and drivetrain, but it also offers something we didn’t have with all the live hydraulic system that goes along with the bed.”
Tyler Robinson, a student in the diesel technician program, noted how that live experience would benefit him – as well as students in years to come.
“I wanted to express our gratitude for the donation of the WM disposal truck. As a student in our program, I will be able to gain necessary hands-on experience as well as benefit future students,” Robinson said.
“Increasing the quality of training opportunities is a top priority for the college. Having a truck such as this being provided by WM provides an opportunity to practice and master many of the curriculum competencies,” said Summers. “Beyond this, having five WM representatives come and speak with the students about the industry at large, including career opportunities, opens the eyes of the students to possibilities beyond graduation. Our collaboration with WM serves to strengthen our program and we are very appreciative of their generosity.”