Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Universal Technical Institute (UTI) are expanding DTNA Finish First to UTI’s Orlando campus in summer 2021.
The program, an elective offered exclusively at UTI, trains students to maintain, diagnose and repair DTNA’s brands, including Freightliner, Western Star and Detroit. UTI campuses in Avondale, Ariz., and Lisle, Ill., currently offer the Finish First program.
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“Orlando will be the first UTI campus on the east coast to offer DTNA Finish First, giving our students in that region the opportunity, in just 12 weeks, to receive manufacturer-specific certifications that might otherwise take years to earn in the field,” says Sherrell Smith, UTI executive vice president, campus operations and services.
“Skilled technicians in the medium- and heavy-duty truck field are in demand and have been essential workers throughout the pandemic, so this program creates valuable opportunities for people looking to train for good jobs in stable careers,” Smith says.
Graduates of UTI’s 45-week core diesel program can apply for the Finish First elective, which is led by DTNA-certified program instructors who bring their real-world industry experience to the program. After the 12-week program, graduates are eligible to work at a DTNA dealer, and many are hired right out of school and sometimes even before they graduate. Graduates who pass qualification tests and participate in module-based training can earn Professional Level Technician status.
“Daimler Trucks of North America service provider locations are all in need of technicians,” says Jody Adams, DTNA service training operations manager. “We are excited to bring the Finish First program to a third UTI campus and to the East coast, where trained technicians are in particularly short supply. Graduates of the Finish First program will be well prepared to service and maintain the advanced and evolving technology that powers Freightliner, Cascadia and Western Star trucks.”
Despite record numbers of Americans filing unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for skilled technicians across the transportation industry continues. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has deemed many of these jobs essential to supporting the nation’s infrastructure during the health crisis, and UTI employer partners continue to report a need for trained technicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects an annual average of 24,500 job openings for truck and bus mechanics and diesel engine specialists through 2029, according to an announcement.