HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Two women who are breaking barriers in a field normally dominated by men will be on hand for the Wallace State Community College’s Women in Diesel Virtual Meet and Greet on March 17. Lucie Moore and Haley Pang will share their experiences as women learning to become and working as diesel technicians.
The Zoom session will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. and will offer insights from the women about working in the industry, classes at Wallace State and more. Information will also be provided about the program, its flexibility with the Diesel by Distance option and more. No prior experience in diesel is required to enter the program.
Most graduates from the Diesel Technology program go on to find work with a starting pay of $16 to $24 per hour, with opportunities for advancement as more certifications are earned. Master technicians can make up to $100,000 and more. There is a 95 percent job placement rating for the program.
Along with meeting Moore and Pang, participants of the Virtual Meet and Greet will get to meet Wallace State Diesel Technology faculty and staff and get to ask any questions they may have.
Moore is currently a student in Wallace State’s Diesel Technology program. With several truck drivers in her family, she grew up working on all types of vehicles. After completing her GED, she tried the more traditional route. She entered a nursing program but found that wasn’t the direction she needed to go.
When she found out about the Diesel by Distance program at Wallace State, that sparked her interest and she decided to enroll.
“The Diesel by Distance program works really well with my schedule,” Moore said.
“Even if I’m running late, I’m not really late, because most of the classes are online and they are taped so you can watch them at any time,” added Moore, who is mom to two boys ages 8 and 6 and works full-time along with going to school.
“I really appreciate the program’s flexibility; it makes it easy to actually enjoy it without stressing out.”
Pang has been a diesel technician for more than seven years but, like Moore, has been around diesel trucks most her life. Her grandfather was a truck driver and she spent summers with him. She would help him maintain his vehicles while listening to his trucking stories. She turned a hobby into a paying job, getting her first job at an off-road shop when she was 17 and started working on earning certifications to become a diesel technician. She’s now a technician for Truckworx Kenworth in Birmingham with specializations in internal engine repair for Paccar and Cummings engines, as well as in electrical repair.
She’s a strong proponent of professional and technical education and is impressed with Wallace State’s state-of-the-art equipment and technology, which includes an online curriculum that supplements classroom lectures and virtual reality simulation labs.
“That sounds amazing,” Pang said. “I wish I could have experienced that when I went to school.”
The Diesel Technology program can also be useful to current entry- or lower-level diesel technicians who wish to earn credentials they can use to advance in pay and position within their current company or as they seek new employment.
Along with its traditional on-campus classes, the Diesel Technology program offers a Diesel by Distance option for students who need a more flexible schedule. It allows students to learn skills remotely using virtual reality before coming to campus so that students get to repair an engine virtually before they even touch one in the lab. A demonstration of the virtual reality simulations will be provided during the session.
Information will also be provided about scholarships, on-the-job training and more. Most student receive assistance to pay for tuition. Money should not be a barrier to participation.
The Alabama Department of Labor has indicated 3,000 new diesel technicians will be hired over the next six years, with more than 400 expected to be hired in the Cullman area in the next three years.
“Alabama’s trucking industry needs the best and brightest to keep our technologically advanced fleet working safely on the roads,” said Mark Colson, president and CEO of the Alabama Trucking Association. “The best and the brightest are often women and they now have a designated pathway to becoming a diesel tech: the Wallace State Hanceville Diesel Technology program. It’s the best route for women to join the team that keeps Alabama moving forward.”
While the meet and greet is geared toward women, men seeking information about the program are welcome to attend.
To register for the Women in Diesel Meet and Greet, visit https://womenindiesel.eventbrite.com or contact Anna Beard at 256.352.8356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.