In another sign of how companies are handling the tight labor market, one leading environmental services company has opened its own tech training institute in Southwest Dallas—offering free, compensated student training for 12 weeks before hiring the graduates full-time at one of its locations nationwide.
Phoenix-based Republic Services, which offers recycling and waste management services from 180 local business units across DFW and the U.S., opened the Republic Services Technical Institute yesterday at 4970 S. Merrifield Road in Dallas—an $18 million, 76,000-square-foot, “state-of-the-art” facility.
Republic calls their new offering “the industry’s first-ever diesel technician training program,” developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor and Lincoln Tech—a leader in post-secondary education for skilled trades. The company has been actively recruiting students across Texas and the U.S. who are willing to relocate to Dallas for the 12-week training program.
“Our country is facing a severe shortage of skilled technicians which has only worsened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Lincoln Tech President and CEO Scott Shaw in a statement. “As a leader in career training for 75 years, Lincoln Tech is excited to partner with Republic Services in addressing the skills gap through this comprehensive hands-on diesel training program. In order to compete and grow, companies across the nation will need to become more involved in the development of their workforce and Republic Services is clearly demonstrating its leadership and commitment in this area.”
Free tuition, transportation, and lodging will be provided by Republic Services to all who qualify, and students will be fully compensated during their 12 weeks of instruction.
When students graduate, they’ll be offered full-time jobs at one of Republic’s business units in 45 states across the country, joining the company’s 35,000 other current employees.
The training is offered to those without prior diesel maintenance training. Beginning in February 2022, a 4-week program will be offered at the institute for tech school grads.
Diesel trucks will dominate U.S. roads for years to come
Dallas Innovates often covers cutting-edge stories about electric or autonomous vehicles undergoing pilot test runs in Dallas-Fort Worth—like Amazon’s Rivian EV vans in Fort Worth, Aurora’s robotaxis in Dallas, Gatik’s autonomous trucking hub in AllianceTexas, and Waymo Via’s robotic trucking runs from Houston to Fort Worth.
But this Republic Services story is a reminder that traditional diesel trucks will roll on American roads for many years to come—and they’ll need diesel technicians to keep them running.
According to the Diesel Technology Forum, about 75 percent of all commercial vehicles are powered by diesel engines, and a staggering 97 percent of the largest Class 8 trucks are diesel-powered.
That’s why a shortage of qualified diesel techs worries companies like Republic Services—and why it has now done something about it.
Addressing a ‘national diesel tech shortage’
The driving reason behind the technical institute’s launch: “a national diesel tech shortage.” Republic cites a Department of Labor statistic that shows only 0.3 percent of the overall workforce in America has completed an apprenticeship. By offering such training itself, the company hopes to get an edge on both the hiring and retention of skilled workers.
Graduates will receive a competitive salary, flexible medical and dental insurance options, 401(k) benefits, and paid time off, the company says.
The job: ongoing maintenance and critical fleet repairs
The full-time jobs will focus on performing ongoing maintenance and critical fleet repairs of Republic’s diesel-powered trucks.
“The Republic Services Tech Institute is an investment in both our current employees and the employees of tomorrow, further demonstrating our commitment to being the place where the best people come to work,” said Jon Vander Ark, Republic Services’ president and CEO, in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming these new graduates as they contribute to our highly trained workforce, increasing the reliability and consistency of our customer experience.”
‘Ambitious diversity goals’
Republic says it’s targeting a candidate pool that will extend its already inclusive and diverse workforce, helping the company meet its “ambitious” diversity goals. Trainees will include veterans looking to re-enter the civilian workforce, recent high school graduates, and people from underprivileged areas.
“Republic has long been committed to building strong communities,” said Sumona De Graaf, Republic’s senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “These are new, non-entry-level jobs designed to help stimulate local economies and fill the shortage of highly skilled technicians nationwide.”
For more information about the program or to apply, people can visit here.
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