Back when Noah Stwalley and Jackson Hughes were accepted into FRCC and RTD’s Diesel Technology Training program (DTECH), it probably didn’t occur to them that they would eventually end up showing off their skills at an international competition.
But that’s exactly where they landed recently—at the International Bus Roadeo.
What Exactly is DTECH?
The DTECH program allows an exclusive group of students—hand-selected by Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD)—to participate in a hands-on diesel technology training course offered in cooperation with Front Range Community College.
Participants in the course learn from one of the largest transit services in the nation, and get to train on actual RTD vehicles. The medium/heavy duty diesel course includes topics like heavy-duty brakes, heavy-duty diesel and coach air systems.
DTECH Program Leads to Jobs
RTD partners with FRCC’s Workforce Solutions division to provide this training for 12 students each summer. Upon completion of the course, those with at least a 70% pass rate are guaranteed an opportunity to test and interview for a full-time position with RTD.
Two of the three RTD team members in this year’s bus roadeo got hired as technicians for RTD after successfully completing the DTECH program in 2016 and 2017. Noah and Jackson were joined by their co-worker Chris Barry, who’s been employed with RTD since 2015. All three mechanics currently work out of RTD’s Boulder Division.
This Actually is Their First Roadeo
The International Bus Roadeo is an annual competition hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The event breaks into two disciplines—testing both maintenance skills and driving skills. Teams from all over North America send their selected “champions” to face this challenge. This year’s event took place in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Colorado RTD team worked together in each event to diagnose and locate planted defects in each simulation. Out of 45 teams, RTD’s team placed 19th individually—and 11th when their scores were combined with the operator from RTD who competed in the driving portion of the competition.
Four Years… and Counting
The DTECH program began in the summer of 2016. Thirty-four students have completed the training to date. For more information about the RTD DTECH program, contact FRCC at 970-204-8686 or ContinuingEd.FRCC@frontrange.edu.