With the U.S. diesel industry featuring a shortage of technicians the Department of Labor says could double in the years ahead, never has there been a greater need to draw young people into trucking's workforce.
One organization working to do that is the newly founded Diesel Garage Foundation, a full 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Eric Villa.
The Diesel Garage Foundation aims to have a direct impact on the number of technicians in the diesel industry by providing 100 trade school scholarships per year to help fill the industry’s gaps. The gesture by this non-profit organization is aimed at salvaging the U.S. diesel industry by providing trained and qualified personnel.
“The cost of trade school tuition and hand tools are often the major drawbacks preventing people from venturing into the diesel industry,” says Villa, who also serves as the foundation's chairman. “That is exactly what the Diesel Garage Foundation provides to our qualified applicants. We want to help have a direct impact on the diesel industry and to help it grow. We are short over 100,000 diesel technicians in the U.S. alone right now and that number will climb to 200,000 by 2025.”
Villa says the Diesel Garage Foundation will provide trade school scholarships, along with the tools required by participants to complete their course and get a good start on their job once they complete the training program.
“Our target market for raising funds to help us achieve our goal of 100 students per year through trade school scholarships are diesel engine manufacturers, aftermarket parts manufacturers, shipping and transportation companies,” he says. “We plan to attract the attention of Caterpillar, Peterbilt, Ford, Chevrolet, Cummins, Pershing Yachts, Detroit Diesel, and Miller Welding. We also expect support from oil companies such as Chevron, Phillips 66, BP and Marathon Oil and drilling companies like Nabors Drilling and Halliburton Energy & Baker Hughes. All these companies rely heavily on diesel technicians, welders, and machinists to keep their operations running at peak performance.”
As part of its program, the foundation recently awarded a trade school scholarship of the sum of $7,500 in tuition fees for a Heavy-Duty Mechanic Level 1 at NIT-Northern Industrial Training trade school in Alaska. Villa, Kyla Pomrenke, executive director of the Alaska Workforce Investment Board, and NIT Vice President Patrick Rose were on hand for the award presentation.
For more information about the Diesel Garage Foundation, please visit https://dieselgaragefoundation.org/.