The associate degree Diesel Equipment Technology program (Top Tech) is designed to meet the needs of today’s diesel industry—which is rapidly changing due to electronically controlled systems, computers and on board diagnostics. Today’s newest concerns are with diesel engine exhaust emissions. Dealerships and fleets need technicians with advanced diagnostic, troubleshooting and critical thinking skills. Top Tech, a Madison College-industry partnership, allows companies to sponsor students as paid interns. The on-the-job training builds technical expertise and helps students learn to use sophisticated equipment to diagnose and correct problems. In addition, the program’s management and communication courses will help graduates qualify for promotions throughout their careers.
Trucking is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. In Wisconsin, one out of seven people work in the manufacture, distribution, maintenance or commercial use of motor vehicles. Agriculture and construction are also major portions of Wisconsin’s economy and require trained technicians to keep modern equipment up and running. All areas of the diesel industry are experiencing shortages of qualified technicians.
Students learn Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Association of Diesel Specialist (ADS) standards: to repair engines, transmissions, drivelines and electrical, electronic, hydraulic systems, fuel, brake, air conditioning and transport refrigeration systems; to adjust suspensions and align wheels and to perform maintenance and tune-ups. Students are trained in simulated shop environments and evaluated like actual employees.
The program is a National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF/ASE) master certified medium/heavy truck program, and certified as a “TECH SMART” school by the ADS. The Association of Diesel Specialists provides scholarships and program support. This program also works with the “2001” Diesel Consortium of approximately 40 companies and developed the Top Tech educator/student industry partnership.