Wallace State Drives Innovation: During the introduction of a new equipment piece for Wallace State Community College’s electric vehicle curriculum in the Diesel Technology program, President Dr. Vicki Karolewics emphasized the college’s commitment to proactive education.
Referencing Tom Peters’ insights in “Re-Imagine!,” Karolewics highlighted the importance of embracing change to avoid irrelevance. Wallace State, in collaboration with partners, strives to set the pace for educational innovation.
To advance this commitment, Wallace State acquired a Kenworth T680E Class 8 heavy-duty electric vehicle from Truckworx, marking the first sale of its kind in Alabama. Wyatt Swann, chair of the Diesel Technology program, sees this as an unprecedented opportunity for students.
The purchase was made possible through a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Associate Dean of Technologies Jerry Murcks outlined the goal of training up to 230 students in handling high-voltage vehicles and batteries.
Heith Pike from Truckworx emphasized the growing presence of electric vehicles in the trucking industry. Wallace State’s Diesel Technology program has consistently produced skilled technicians, a fact recognized by the positive relationship with Truckworx.
In addition to the vehicle acquisition, Wallace State received a $44,000 donation from Cullman Electric Cooperative. Brian Lacy, the Co-Op’s manager of communication and external affairs, explained that the funds, originating from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Community Care Fund, will be used to install electric vehicle charging stations on campus.
Guests from Cullman Electric Cooperative and Truckworx, along with representatives from Congressman Robert Aderholt’s office, the Cullman Economic Development Agency, TVA, and the City of Hanceville, attended the unveiling event.
Wallace State extends its electric vehicle training across Diesel Technology, Advanced Automotive Technology, and a new Electrical Technology program under the Mechatronics, Electronics, and Robotics Technology umbrella.