Diesel technician curriculum for biodiesel accredited by ASE
“Biodiesel” may soon be a word as commonplace as “scan tool” or “torque wrench” in the shop talk that takes place in garages. That’s because biodiesel has taken a leap forward in becoming fully integrated into the education that diesel mechanics receive.
This week, the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation officially awarded the Automotive Service Excellence accreditation to the NBB Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians curriculum. NATEF is the body responsible for accrediting schools and curriculum nationwide. Dave Milne, president of the Automotive Training Managers Council, a division of ASE, presented the award and said, “We are delighted to have the National Biodiesel Board as an accredited training organization—it is important to have good technical information to educate the next generation of diesel technicians in advanced biofuels.”
Created by the NBB, the Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians curriculum is intended to provide technically sound information to mechanics and overcome misconceptions.
“NBB had the foresight to recognize that educating diesel technicians early is critical to its mission of increasing public acceptance of biodiesel, a relatively new fuel,” said Rachel Burton, a diesel technician who leads the NBB program. “Knowledge is power.”
Greater biodiesel acceptance will help all Americans enjoy the benefits of biodiesel. This includes enhancing energy security, supporting 39,000 American jobs, and reducing pollution. Biodiesel reduces carbon emissions alone by 80 percent, making it the nation’s only commercially available U.S. EPA-certified advanced biofuel under the federal renewable fuel program.
The NBB program has had a partnership with Universal Technical Institute, a leading provider of entry-level technicians, since 2009. Burton has led over 300 instructors through the biodiesel curriculum at UTI’s 10 campuses nationwide.
Now, schools like UTI, Lincoln College of Technology, and Ivy Tech can officially use this biodiesel program as core curriculum for diesel technicians. They can offer a biodiesel class that counts for credits towards a degree. It will also count for Continuing Education Units. Many established technicians request CEUs for certified professional development or Automotive Service Excellence certification, which many employers require. The blue seal is a common sight in auto shops.
The Iowa Biodiesel Board was an early partner with NBB, implementing the NBB Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians curriculum with more than 1,000 students at community colleges in Iowa since 2009. Before taking a course in biodiesel led by instructors trained under the program, just 33 percent of students felt “fairly knowledgeable” or “very knowledgeable” about biodiesel. After the course, 74 percent classed themselves in those categories.
“People listen to their automotive technicians, and if there is an information gap there, techs are not likely to recommend biodiesel to their customers,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “We’ve already seen this program having an impact in Iowa. It really is mission-critical to the future of biodiesel’s success. We hope other states will be able to replicate what we have done in Io