Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) officially opened its new diesel tech training facility, Westpointe, on September 20, 2018. SLCC officials stated, “this vibrant new facility will support the community’s training needs in a flexible, high-quality space that will benefit business, industry and the surrounding community for decades.”
Kenworth Sales’ Dealer Principal, Kyle Treadway, saw the need for better, more robust diesel tech training and was looking for a way to invest in it. “I saw SLCC’s commitment and thought, ‘I can get behind that. I can commit when I see that there are others going in the same direction,’” Earlier this year, Kyle announced that Kenworth Sales donated $400,000 to the Westpointe facility. “I could see that it was a serious facility geared toward current technology – and that’s what we are lacking.”
“Seeing the facility first hand and touring the classrooms and hands on learning made me excited and proud of Kenworth’s investment,” said Terry Spencer, Kenworth Sales Corporate Service Director, after the Donor Appreciation Dinner on September 19th. “This facility will positively impact the industry’s technician shortage.”
According to American Transportation Research Institute’s Top Industry Issues report, released in October 2017, trucking alone will require an estimated 67,000 new technicians as well as 75,000 new diesel engine specialists by 2022. This staggering number has huge implications for the industry.
“We are in a crisis, and this is an investment to try and solve that,” Treadway stated. “I could hire 45 technicians right now, today.” Within three or four years of attaining a one-year diesel technician certificate from SLCC, the best technicians can be earning an annual salary in excess of $100,000.
With this kind of demand from the industry, and salary expectations like that, Kenworth Sales is leaning on SLCC and other institutions to help spread the word and bring the students to the college. “I firmly believe that helping the industry as a whole helps us all, not just in the trucking industry,” Spencer said, “This is a step in the right direction in helping build a stronger foundation to Utah’s economy.”
Founded in 1945, Kenworth Sales Company began in Salt Lake City, Utah and has since grown to more than 770 employees with 22 locations in seven western states (Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.) Kenworth Sales Company sells and service class 6, 7, and 8 trucks and is the third largest and the second-oldest Kenworth dealership in the U.S. and Canada.