The Diesel Technology program at North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) in Wahpeton has been a bright spot for many students looking for opportunity in North Dakota. The program takes approximately 18 months to complete.
The curriculum infuses both classroom and laboratory learning opportunities for students. The footprint for the diesel technology program spans the U.S. but is concentrated in North Dakota, eastern Montana, Minnesota and South Dakota. There are multiple dealerships within those states and some programs have students from across the U.S. All of these programs are corporate-sponsored.
Diesel Technology Associate Professor and Program Chair Terry Marohl discussed the direction of the program and how they get students off on the right foot.
“All of our programs are two-year associate degree programs, and they’re all kind of unique to themselves, but there is also familiarity within programs in the department,” Marohl said. “We train entry level technicians who enter their careers as a diesel technology technician, and that’s our main goal — to strive for students to get ready for the workforce and get great jobs.”
The program offers a variety of options for students. There are agricultural dealerships where they can work on ag equipment as well as trucking companies and opportunities in the construction equipment industry. NDSCS has partnership programs with John Deere, KOMATSU, Case IH and CAT. Students in these programs alternate their time, spending eight weeks studying with their dealers, then returning to NDSCS for eight weeks until they complete their degree. Marohl said students make the relationships prior to starting school.
Marohl has been teaching at NDSCS for 30 years. He attended NDSCS to be a diesel technician. Now he helps students gain opportunities to become diesel technicians. During that timespan, Marohl has received national recognition for his outstanding work with the diesel tech program. In 2011, he received an award for the American Technical Education Association’s (ATEA) Region 5 Outstanding Technical Teacher. ATEA Region 5 consists of: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. Marohl has contributed to the success of the diesel tech program at NDSCS.
Some of the things that make the program attractive for students are not only the partnerships they’ve made, but the foundation that Marohl has set up throughout his tenure at NDSCS. Students have gone on from the program to participate in national competitions. The construction of Bisek Hall at the Wahpeton campus is the reason why this program has thrived over the years. Their groundbreaking success in the new facility, which cost over $10.5 million, has driven students to the program and sent them off to successful careers as diesel technicians.