Facebook pixel MCT Donates Bus for STLCC’s Diesel Technology Program

MCT Donates Bus for STLCC’s Diesel Technology Program

Students in the diesel technology programSt. Louis Community College strives to remain at the forefront of education, and the diesel technology program just got a new tool to deliver that promise to its students. 

Madison County Transit donated a 35-foot bus to the program in March. The 2010, 24-volt vehicle provides something of value to not only STLCC, but also to Madison County Transit and other area mass transit organizations. 

“It’s a technology that’s been around a very long time and most community colleges don’t have access to a 24-volt system,” said Justin Dixon, fleet manager for MCT. “Groups like us, Metro and Metrolink, we’ve been having a hard time finding people coming out of school who understand 24-volt systems. 

“They teach it in theory, it’s another thing to see it in action, testing it, troubleshooting it.”

Dixon said STLCC was chosen because of its sizeable investment into the future of the diesel technology program, including a new building on the Forest Park campus that is scheduled to break ground this year. Currently, the program resides in the Metropolitan Education and Training Center about 15 minutes from Forest Park. 

Students examine bus engine“A lot of our students are going and working at places like Metro bus or Madison County Transit and working on that type of system,” said Josh Walker, diesel technology program director. “We haven’t been able to teach them, we’ve just been able to talk about it. We didn’t have anything in the classroom that exemplifies that kind of electrical system.”

Noah Partridge, in his first year at the College, said he’s excited about the opportunity to get his hands on the engine. He chose STLCC because it was the nearest opportunity for him to learn about diesel engines, and because of its strong reputation in the region. He travels about an hour each way from Staunton, Ill., and says experiences such as working on the bus are what makes him happy that he chose STLCC. 

Aside from being a 24-volt bus, it has automatic transmission and several other features that are normal for buses used in the area. Students don’t always have the opportunity to learn directly from these types of vehicles. The chance to work on a vehicle that is similar to what he might work on once he’s out of school is a bonus for Partridge. 

“It’s definitely something different,” he said. “There’s different stuff on it that will be interesting to get my hands on. Just working on everything in confined spaces, I’m going to enjoy it. It’s interesting with all of the compressors. It’s something.” 

Walker said no other school in the region has access to a transit bus like the one MCT delivered. 

“It sets us apart,” he said. “We are happy to be able to train them on this type of hardware.”

Walker said the College has been trying to get a bus like the one it was given but they’ve been hard to find. When MCT officials were ready to retire the bus, they had a relatively easy choice. They could take it to an auction and get around $3,000 (a new bus that style is about $675,000) or benefit by giving it to students who may one day work for them. 

“It’s awesome to have that and be able to plug into and show that kind of voltage system,” Walker said. 

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