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LBW offers only CNG repair classes in state

LBW Community College’s diesel and heavy equipment mechanics program is the only two-year college program in Alabama currently offering instruction on repair of compressed natural gas (CNG) engines to meet the evolving needs of the trucking industry, according to officials.

“In June, UPS (United Parcel Service) announced it is ordering 730 CNG vehicles and building five additional domestic CNG fueling stations,” said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel. “We are currently the only college in Alabama prepared to meet the changing needs of the industry by training students to maintain and repair these types of engines.”

In the announcement by UPS, the company and its rivals, such as FedEx Corp and DHL delivery businesses, face pressure from regulators in major cities around the world to lessen the environmental impact of fleets.

“As more and more delivery and transportation fleets transition to alternative CNG engines, LBWCC’s program graduates will be qualified to fill industry employment needs for maintenance and repair. This is a great example of how LBWCC’s technical program training stays current with the needs of industry,” said Riedel.

LBWCC expanded diesel and heavy equipment mechanics training on the MacArthur Campus in Opp to a two-year Associate in Applied Science Degree program, which includes seven credit hours of natural gas engine repair courses in addition to 22 credit hours of transferrable general education courses. Total credit hours required for the degree in this program is 71.

Eddie Spann, LBWCC faculty in the diesel and heavy equipment mechanics program, said area businesses and organizations helped with the additional training requirements.

“The heavy equipment repair program received training equipment donations from business and industry in our service area,” he said.

“A grant from the National Science Foundation provided means for natural gas curriculum development and professional development of our instructors to teach the new courses.”

In addition, a Workforce Grant awarded by Alabama Community College System provided funds to purchase two natural gas engine trainers and two late model diesel engine trainers along with specialty tools and supplies for the natural gas engine lab.

For the natural gas portion of the curriculum, students are required to take and pass an initial one-credit hour natural gas safety course, followed by 12 contact hours in hands-on activities and two contact hours of classroom instruction per week, he said.

For more information on the diesel and heavy equipment mechanics program, contact Spann, program instructor, at 334.493.5322 or email atespann@lbwcc.edu.