Ford Motor Company in conjunction with Ken Wilson Ford recently donated a 2006 E450 Cutaway Cab V8, 6.0 liter diesel truck to Haywood Community College. The truck will be used to begin diesel repair classes this fall under the Automotive Systems Technology program. Students will be able to pursue a certificate in Diesel Repair with actual hands-on learning experience thanks to this donation.

According to HCC President Dr. Rose Johnson, "I met with Ken Wilson a year ago and he indicated that he would like to see more students out of our program. He then put us in touch with the Ford Motor Company. With the donation of this diesel truck, HCC will be able to fill a gap in the automotive industry that is now left untouched in Haywood County."

"It was important that we get qualified people to work on diesel engines," explains Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Ford. "We have to train them to get certified. Forty percent of our total shop work is diesel work. There is a tremendous shortage in diesel mechanics." According to Wilson, diesel mechanics can see entry level pay at about $30,000 with the potential of making anywhere between $40,000 and $65,000. These mechanics repair everything from half ton pick-up trucks to small cars and ambulances.

"With this donation, we have an opportunity to offer students a chance to learn skills that are in high demand," says HCC Automotive Systems instructor Bruce Campbell. "This training will give graduates a head start with a higher pay level."

For more information on the Diesel Repair certificate or the Automotive Systems Technology program, please call 627-4500.