SBVC’s Premier Diesel Program Offers Support to High Schools

When diesel and auto shop students take on the highly anticipated annual SkillsUSA Championship competition, they are tasked to perform on the spot, demonstrating their knowledge of valve and brake adjustments, or showing how to build engines. To better prepare themselves for such a task, high school students have been seeking more training with premium equipment and resources, and they find it at San Bernardino Valley College. Diesel faculty member Berchman Melancon said SBVC is the only local college with all tools required to help students prepare for the big competition. This department readily embraces high school programs eager to show their students a professional hands-on experience. 

Most recently, Van Nuys High School bussed 20 students all the way to SBVC to prepare for their upcoming SkillsUSA State competition. Having made it all the way to nationals in New York in the competition two years prior, the high school was seeking guidance from SBVC to reach their goals once again. Melancon noted that the students traveling from Van Nuys passed about four other college diesel programs on their way, but chose to go the distance to utilize the resources at SBVC. While visiting, the students were exposed to the one of the best training facilities in the Inland Empire, working side-by-side with college students on electrical diagnostics, meters, testers, and scan tools. 

Over the years, sizable donations have helped take the Diesel program at SBVC to new levels, where cutting edge tools mark the prestige of the department. In the past two years, the department received $200,000 in donated tech equipment, including velocity trucks, along with a $90,000 donation of a diesel freight-liner. The campus offers an associate degree or certificate in Heavy/Medium Duty Diesel Truck Technology. It also recently started instruction with clean vehicles, including electric trucks, as well as hands-on training with a CNG 2012 Cascadia Luxury Truck, donated by Velocity Vehicle Group.  

Careers in the field of diesel are in high demand, and San Bernardino Valley College boasts one of the best diesel technology training facilities in the region. Melancon notes that other colleges may teach diesel programs, but only cover part of training, making SBVC the only college with comprehensive courses in the region. 

He also emphasizes how eager employers are to hire the students. "They'll take them right out of the seat before they finish the class,” he said. “They'll hire them. They have such a large shortage of diesel technicians, heavy-duty truck technicians, they'll take them right out of the classrooms.” 

Whether through stack-able certificates, or the associate program, the field is a fast-growing opportunity. SBVC strives to support prospective and current students entering impressive paying fields as diesel service technicians and mechanics.

To learn more about the Heavy/Medium Duty Diesel Truck Technology (Diesel) program at SBVC, visit