Officials from Peterbilt Motors Company were in Taylor before the holidays to meet with Taylor ISD school officials about the partnership to develop a new diesel mechanics program for local students.
“This is a one of a kind project,” said Superintendent Keith Brown. “It’s the only partnership Peterbilt has with any high school in the United states, providing the opportunity for our students to graduate as certified diesel mechanics and start out at very high paying jobs.”
Taylor’s new diesel program is currently in the development phase with classes scheduled to begin next school year. Half of the old gym behind T.H. Johnson Elementary School, recently used as a warehouse, is being converted into a diesel garage. The space is large enough to house a semi-truck as well as a classroom, equipment and tools.
The partnership also includes Rush Trucking, the authorized repair center for Peterbilt. Paccar, the parent company that owns Peterbilt, has already delivered two large engines for the Taylor program, and Rush will bring trucks to the training facility.
Students completing the diesel program will have the skills necessary to enter the Peterbilt Technician Institute (PTI) after graduation. Following the completion of that three-month training, students will be placed at a dealership as an entry level technician. Curtis Crisp, technician program manager, North America, said the entry level starting wage is $19-20 an hour. Eighteen months later, these new technicians are earning in the high 20s.
If successful, the program in Taylor ISD will be used as an example to set up similar programs in high schools across the nation.
"The idea is to develop this program to be a template for other high schools across the nation," said Crisp. "We want to point to Taylor High School when we start talking to other places across the country and say we want you to do what Taylor High School has done."