Skip to Main Content

Search NewsCenter

Top Stories

Josh Janssen: Diesel Equipment Technology

Spring 2010

Running on All Cylinders

Despite the recent recession, there’s a big demand for trained diesel technicians, and graduates from FVTC’s highly respected Diesel Equipment Technology program are proving to be hot commodities. 

Josh Janssen knows a good thing when he sees it. And when he saw the opportunity to move into a new career that could bring some security to his future, he seized it.

A native of Little Chute, Janssen spent 10 years working as a machinery operator in local mills. The 31-year-old liked the work and the pay, but the industry was struggling to stay afloat. Janssen was laid off three different times. “I was lucky enough to get rehired at another mill after each of the first two layoffs,” says Janssen. “But after the third one, I decided it was time for something new.”
 

His search for a new career led him to Fox Valley Technical College. Working with counselors at the Appleton campus, Janssen quickly zeroed in on the Diesel Equipment Technology program. “I was looking for something that would be hands-on, as well as a career that would let me stay in the area,” he says. “Plus, I wanted to find a job that wouldn’t lose work to outsourcing.”

An Industry in Need

In years past, working with diesel engines had a reputation of being a dirty, low-tech job with limited opportunities for advancement. Not anymore. “Today, diesel technology is about as high-tech as it gets,” says Dan Poeschel, an instructor in the Diesel Technology programs and chair of FVTC’s J. J. Keller Transportation Center.

Poeschel’s 30 years of experience in the industry has allowed him to witness a big paradigm shift. Modern diesel engines have an intricate array of electronics and house multiple computers on board. “The market offers hard-working technicians the opportunity to grab high-paying, high-tech jobs that don’t require you to bust your back,” notes Poeschel.

What’s more, the demand for trained technicians is high, and is projected to go higher, thanks to an aging workforce. “Nationwide, 40 to 50% of diesel technicians are expected to retire within five years,” says Poeschel. “About 205,000 new diesel technicians will be needed by 2014, but only 3,500 of them are graduating each year.”

The FVTC Advantage

Even though the demand is high and expected to climb, the better the training, the better the job prospects, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fox Valley Tech is preparing its students to compete for high-end positions that can pay up to $28 per hour for experienced technicians.

“Our program requires students to complete a full year of training to earn their technical diploma,” says Poeschel. “Plus, students can also earn an associate degree. Both degrees include federal certifications in air-conditioning systems, air-brake systems, and annual inspections.”

Classroom work is complemented by five hours of training per day in a shop setting. Students learn their craft in real-life situations by working on some of the more than 40 vehicles that FVTC uses in its Truck Driving program.

The program can be demanding for students, but Janssen has taken it in stride. “It’s been a real challenge to return to school after being away so long,” he says. “But in some ways, it’s easier than when I was in high school. Things like house payments and car payments help you keep focused.”

Janssen and his wife, Amber, are making ends meet on her salary and his unemployment benefits, but some outside financial assistance has helped as well. The State of Wisconsin provided Janssen with a dislocated worker program grant of $2,500 per semester for up to four semesters. He also received a Trade Adjustment Assistant grant from the federal government.

Along with the financial assistance, Janssen gives a lot of credit to the FVTC faculty and advisors for helping him forge a new career. “Everyone has been eager to work with me and answer my questions,” he says. “The program’s instructors have been in the field and know what they’re doing.”

Though he’s only been in the program since August 2009, Janssen has come to share his instructors’ passion and excitement for diesel technology. He’s chosen to pursue an associate degree. He thinks it’s the best way to get himself back into the same salary range he was in when he worked for the paper mills. “I’m taking some business and management classes with the hope of maybe becoming a shop foreman or a service manager,” he says.

Steering Toward a Solid Career

In addition to a high-octane education, Fox Valley Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program offers an unbeatable advantage in today’s economy: a 100% job-placement rate during the past three years.

Last year, 54 students received 147 job offers in Wisconsin. Before the economic downturn, the program was receiving around 300 job offers per year.

The jobs also aren’t your typical low-paying, entry-level gigs, either. “We’ve surveyed our alumni six months after graduation,” says Diesel Technology Instructor Dan Poeschel. “They typically earn anywhere between $25,000 and $43,000 per year. And after five years on the job, they’re earning from $31,000 to more than $56,000.”

FVTC President's Blog


New This Week

Featured Photos

Student & Alumni Spotlight

Celebrating Scholars for Success

Celebrating Scholars for Success

Jun 16, 2016

The Multicultural Student Services team at Fox Valley Technical College helped guide students ...

Studying Abroad Helps Students Think Globally

Studying Abroad Helps Students Think Globally

Jun 2, 2016

Fox Valley Technical College leads in providing study-abroad opportunities that encourage ...

Alumni of the Year Named

Alumni of the Year Named

Apr 21, 2016

Fox Valley Technical College announced its 2016 Outstanding Alumni of the Year recipient during ...

Featured Videos

Spring 2016 Focus Magazine

Read the latest issue of Focus magazine, with features highlighting students and alumni in Engineering, Accounting, Banking & Finance and much more.

Upcoming Events

2 Aug 2016

Campus Tour

4 - 6 p.m. | Appleton

Campus Tour

Come check out Fox Valley Technical College this summer.

8 Aug 2016

8 Aug 2016

Calendar

«July 2016»
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
262728
6/28/2016 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
50658

Campus Tour

Come check out Fox Valley Technical College this summer.

Read more
29
6/29/2016 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
50659

Campus Tour

Come check out Fox Valley Technical College this summer.

Read more
3012
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
3
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
4
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
5
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
6
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
7
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
8
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
9
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
10
7/2/2016 - 7/10/2016
40845

College Closed for Summer Break

All Fox Valley Technical College locations will be closed for the summer recess the week of July 4, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, July 11.

Read more
1112
7/12/2016 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
50660

Campus Tour

Come check out Fox Valley Technical College this summer.

Read more
13
141516
7/16/2016 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
14446

WVBO Classic Car Show & Cruise

Saturday, July 16, 3-6 p.m., Appleton Campus, East Parking Lot

Read more
1718192021
7/21/2016 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
50662

Campus Tour

Come check out Fox Valley Technical College this summer.

Read more
2223
24252627
28
2930
3112
8/2/2016 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
50666

Campus Tour

Come check out Fox Valley Technical College this summer.

Read more
3456

Get Social

Connect With Us banner

FVTC eConnect Newsletter Sign-up








CAPTCHA image
Enter the code shown above: