A Delaware Area Career Center senior was recently accepted into Caterpillar’s ThinkBig Technician Education program, which will allow him to work and study with the company after graduation.
Triston Tuggle, a senior from Highland High School studying Power Sports at the DACC’s North Campus said Wednesday that he applied for the program after a visit from a representative from Caterpillar. Tuggle said in order to be considered for the program, he had to be interviewed and had to take an exam.
Tuggle explained that the program will send him to Owens Community College in the northwest part of the state to study for eight weeks, followed by eight weeks of doing mechanical training. Tuggle said if he can keep his grades high enough during the classes and training, Caterpillar will pay for it and likely hire him when the program concludes.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Caterpillar,” Tuggle said. “I’m just happy that I got accepted. I’ve always wanted to do diesel mechanics. I love working on stuff.”
Tuggle said he’s grateful that his post-graduation plans are laid out for him.
“My favorite part about it is knowing I’m heading down the right path, and I won’t be lost after I get out of school,” he said.
Tuggle added while he’s passionate about working on engines, he’s excited to make money doing it.
According to Tuggle, Caterpillar only accepts between 15 and 20 students into the program each year.
He added he is thankful that his parents, especially his mother, pushed him to do the program and get everything completed.
Tuggle said the Power Sports program at the DACC gave him experience and a leg up for the program.
“This year, we rebuilt a diesel, and right now are studying hydraulics,” he said. “That’s the main stuff at Ohio (Caterpillar).”
After the schooling is complete, the program’s participants have to work for Caterpillar for two years minimum, and Tuggle said he’ll gain the skills to work at any diesel shop, even if he’ll probably stay with Caterpillar.
DACC Power Sports instructor Jeff Lucas said Tuggle is only the second student who has been accepted into the program from the career center.
“It’s a pretty difficult program,” Lucas said. “They look at attendance. They look at grades.”
Lucas said the program is a career opportunity for Tuggle.
“Caterpillar is a great company to work for,” Lucas said. “The sky is the limit for him. It’s a great opportunity, and a good way to get school paid for.”