PITTSBURG — Although the median annual pay for diesel service technicians and mechanics was $47,350 as of May of last year, the United States continues to face a shortage of qualified diesel technicians. Pittsburg State University received a boost to its efforts to train more young people for these important jobs, however, with the recent donation of three 2015 International WorkStar trucks.

“The trucks will allow faculty to provide instruction on the entire truck, from bumper to bumper,” said Professor Tim Dell, coordinator of PSU’s Diesel and Heavy Equipment Program, according to a recent university release.

"It provides the fundamental foundation systems for that industry including axles, transmissions, drive lines, and brake systems,” Dell said, adding that the trucks, which were recently donated by Navistar in time for the fall semester, will primarily be used in his department’s On Highway Truck Systems Course, but will also likely be incorporated into other courses within the department such as HVAC classes, engine classes, and electrical and electronic classes.

The trucks are all 2015 International WorkStar models, but each one has slightly different specifications. Two are Class 8, automatic transmission trucks, but one weighs 37,000 pounds and has a Cummins ISL 9 liter engine while the other weighs 52,000 pounds and features a Navistar 13 liter engine. The third is a Class 7 truck, weighing 29,500 pounds, with a Cummins ISB 6.7 liter engine and a manual transmission.

"Supporting STEM education is an important philanthropic goal for Navistar, and our truck donation program is a great example of practical help that can address a major industry issue – the ongoing shortage of qualified diesel technicians," said Kristin Sattayatam, director of community relations for Navistar, according to the PSU release. “Navistar's donations will support meaningful, good-paying jobs by giving students hands-on experience working on real equipment they will encounter during their careers. Students, the community, and the industry as a whole will benefit."