• Ron Kotrba

Illinois community college ‘building a pipeline of biodiesel technicians’

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Photo: Lewis and Clark Community College

Illinois-based Lewis and Clark Community College is making progress toward “building a pipeline of biodiesel technicians,” according to a recent presentation given by Chris Reynolds, the school’s associate professor of automotive technology.

Year one’s objectives toward this end included building awareness and interest in diesel and biodiesel technology pathways and careers, increasing participation in work-based learning activities, and growing biodiesel industry involvement.

“COVID has ruined a lot of the things we wanted to complete in year one,” Reynolds said. “But there is still a very big need in the medium- and heavy-duty truck [and] bus-transit side that we have the opportunity to fill.”

LCCC received a three-year, $300,000 National Science Foundation grant, according to Reynolds, to focus curriculum development in three categories for truck and agriculture equipment: braking systems; electricity and electronics; and diesel-engine operations.

The program obtained two Scania diesel engines from Analytical Engineering and two Cummins diesel engines from the engine manufacturer through alumni connections working in fleet industries.

“Students can see potential earnings start from $40,000 to 60,000 annually, plus benefits, and that’s a big incentive for this program,” Reynolds said. “In the next 10 years, there will be a projected 11,000 job openings in just the St. Louis metro area.”

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