Industry Partners Support HDTT

Heavy Duty Truck Technology purchases 2016 Freightliner straight truck for reduced cost thanks to partnership with DTNA and I-State Truck Center

The Heavy Duty Truck Technology (HDTT) program at Dakota County Technical College recently acquired a 2016 Freightliner straight truck for training purposes. Thanks to a partnership with Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and I-State Truck Center/Interstate Power Systems, the HDTT program was able to purchase the $45,000 truck for $15,000.

An American truck manufacturer, Freightliner is part of DTNA, a subsidiary of Daimler AG. Daimler Trucks is the largest truck-manufacturing company in the world. Freightliner is the bestselling semi-truck in the U.S.

More about the industry partnership…

Mark Olson, I-State general manager, Richard Petterson, HDTT faculty, Pete Szybatka, HDTT faculty, Ken Klassen, HDTT faculty, Ed White, HDTT faculty, Jordan Tenney, I-State sales

DCTC partners with DTNA and I-State to deliver online industry training free of charge to HDTT students and faculty via Get Ahead, a DTNA program aimed at giving students opportunities to build their basic skills, increase their knowledge on Freightliner and Western Star systems, and earn industry certifications. Get Ahead both benefits students and the DTNA service network.

“Get Ahead is the same platform Freightliner uses to train their certified technicians,” reported Richard Petterson, HDTT faculty. “Students can earn industry certifications that stay with them throughout their careers as heavy duty truck technicians.”

The 2016 Freightliner purchase was made possible by the HDTT program’s great success in Get Ahead, which led to the program’s participation in DTNA Trucks for Training, a top-tier option of Get Ahead where DTNA, a truck dealership/distributor, and diesel-tech school split the cost of a DTNA truck with modern technology.

“I-State Truck Center and DTNA know we must invest in our students, our schools, and our training curricula. We appreciate everything that I-State and Daimler have done for our students and the college’s HDTT program. Thank you!”

Ken Klassen
HDTT Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

Richard added that DCTC has been involved with the Trucks for Training program for many years. “The training outcomes of our students have ranked our program in the top 10 nationally for five consecutive years. In 2020, the HDTT program finished the year in second place out of 283 technical programs in the U.S.”

Trucks for Training gives HDTT students hands-on, real-world access to the same late-model trucks they will be maintaining and repairing as professional technicians. Industry partnerships like the collaboration between DCTC, DTNA, and I-State are essential for graduating students who are exceptionally prepared to succeed in their careers.

“Our HDTT program has been awarded more than $100,000 in training support over the last several years,” Richard said. “That support is critical to ensure our students have an edge in college and later when they’re on the job. Thanks to our industry partners, our HDTT graduates will be empowered to become our industry leaders of tomorrow.”

Previous HDTT partnership success stories…

Waste Management Donates Toolbox to DCTC

Manders Diesel Donates $7,500 to DCTC

DSI Donates Tool Box to HDTT

Nuss Truck & Equipment Supports HDTT

I-State and Daimler Donate 2015 Freightliner

I-State and Daimler Donate Freightliner to HDTT

Bus and Truck Mechanics

Maintain or repair any type of diesel engine.


Above the statewide median of $23.00/hour


Median: $25.91/hour
High: $31.65/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $28.04/hour
High: $33.42/hour


In Minnesota, there are 6,850 workers employed in this medium-sized career, which is currently in very high demand and is seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 6.4 percent, or above the statewide average.

There will be a need for about 7,524 new Bus and Truck Mechanics to meet market demand between 2018–2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

More about the HDTT program

As a student in the HDTT program at DCTC, you will learn all aspects of heavy-duty truck repair and maintenance. The program focuses on large trucks, typically class 7 and 8.

Areas of instruction include:
  • Electrical and electronic systems
  • Steering/alignment
  • Foundation brakes
  • Air brakes
  • Anti-lock brake systems

You will perform diesel engine troubleshooting as well as overhauls and tune-ups on both mechanical and electronic engines. Clutch, transmission, drive axle repair and overhaul are taught along with welding instruction, preventive maintenance and HVAC.

You will be given the opportunity to obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL) and become a state of Minnesota certified commercial vehicle inspector.

This program is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Programs must undergo extensive evaluation and site visits by NATEF to receive and retain program accreditation.

Learn more about Heavy Duty Truck Technology at DCTC by contacting:

Kenneth Klassen
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty

Pete Szybatka
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty

Ed White
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty

Richard Petterson
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty