Return to Headlines

CHS Diesel Technician Program Hosts Internship Signing Day

Ten Cleburne High School Career and Technical Education students have unwrapped early Christmas presents, in the form of paid internships starting in January with HOLT Caterpillar, RDO Equipment Company, Diesel Dynamics and the Cleburne ISD Transportation Department.

 Cleburne CTE hosted its first Diesel Technician Internship Signing Day, as each student penned their name to documents formalizing their workplace opportunity, which will begin with the start of the second semester of the school year.

                The availability of paid internships for advanced-level students in the CHS Heavy Equipment/Diesel Technician program was a component in the design of this Cleburne CTE initiative, now in its second year. The signing ceremony was both a celebration and a milestone in the educational journey of these students, according to instructor Daq Querry.

                “’Your future starts here’ were the words CTE Director Mark McClure and I chose to post on the wall when we began laying out the Diesel Technician shop and facilities here at Cleburne High School,” Querry said. “There is so much truth to that. For these interns, their future is starting now.”

                “They are primed to fire on all cylinders and have a chance to begin an amazing and lucrative career—in the fast lane—because of these internships,” he said. “Our program partners are providing a critical role to their success now, and in the future, in giving these students a chance to learn and build on their skills--on the job. We are so grateful they have aligned with our Diesel Technician program. It truly takes a village, and these partners are true game changers in Cleburne CTE.”

                Signing internship documents alongside their new employers were Kyle Labo and Nathan Malone, who will be working at the CISD Transportation Maintenance facility; Dylan Haubeneiser and Daniel Staggs-Diesel Dynamics; Alex Haynes and Justin Rogers-RDO Equipment Company and Michael Tofflemoyer, Jose Cardenas, Andres Ortiz and Zane Thomas-HOLT CAT Cleburne.

                Querry repeatedly emphasized their dedication, desire to learn and work ethic not just in Diesel Tech, but all their classes, as he brought each honoree to the signing table. Querry credited each in displaying a ‘get down to business’ attitude in their work performance, with a passion for engines as their bond.

                Cardenas, who is a junior, built on the skills he learned in his first year in Diesel Tech. Coming into year two of the program, he arrived with an expanded skillset having worked in a small engine repair shop over the summer.

                “It definitely was a hands-on job and I liked it,” he said. “It confirmed that this is what I want to do. I was really wanting an internship in choosing this program as my career pathway. I have worked hard to place myself in the position to be considered. I’m excited, happy and ready to get started.”

                Cardenas believes this is the perfect next step as he contemplates his future.

                “At the moment, I want to learn as much as I can,” he said. “I’m interested in going to college—maybe ATI—to see how far I can go in a career in this industry.”

                As they prepare to welcome their new interns, those that have been partnering with Cleburne’s Diesel Tech program believe it is a win-win situation for all.

                “There is such a technician shortage in the workplace,” RDO Equipment Company General Manager Matt Daniell said. “Bringing these young people into our culture and watching them grow is exciting for us.”

                “This particular internship partnership is special to us,” he said. “We’ve been with the diesel technician program in Cleburne from the beginning and have watched it grow.”

                The relationship between Cleburne CTE and HOLT Caterpillar goes back several years—and several interns.

                “We’ve had five interns from Cleburne High School,” Jake Sumpter, Shop Supervisor of HOLT Cat Cleburne said. “They’ve all done well. The internship program with Cleburne has proven to be very lucrative. In today’s industry it’s very hard to find mechanics—they don’t grow on trees. Through our company’s internship program, we are able to get to these prospective technicians early and train them in our industry--and are able to put them to work sooner.”

                A new partner to Cleburne’s large engine/diesel technician program is Joshua’s Diesel Dynamics. Service Advisor MacLean Young is very excited to give interns some workplace experience.

                “When we visited Cleburne’s facilities, we were blown away,” Young said. “We are excited to give kids this internship opportunity. We are a family-owned business and I think they will get to do some things that they might not at the bigger shops. We do light-duty diesel repair from start to finish and diagnosing is a big part of what we do—and what these kids are in the process of learning. We’ll be evaluating where they are with their skills and go from there.”

                “I grew up learning about engines the same way as these kids—but not at school,” he said. “If something like this, including an internship, had been available when I was in school, it would have been amazing. We view this as a great opportunity for our business and we want to grow it.”