Pathways Innovation Center Diesel Automotive Students Driving Towards Industry and Academic Success!

Troy Corson, automotive/diesel teacher at Pathways Innovation Center, said the learning opportunity was a “natural fit” for students and Oftedal, “The students really enjoy getting out here, meeting with experts in the field, learning from them, and seeing what we are doing in class in a different way. It is a great community partnership, and we really appreciate Oftedal for their time and willingness to help us educate and inspire our students.” 


Oftedal Construction graciously shut down production for a day of leading by example, with students from NCHS spending a morning in the shops, followed by KWHS in the afternoon. “Oftedal is a very progressive company, and they just let us shut down and pay all these employees to be out here to do this for the students. It cultivates interest that I don't think you get any other way. Having students experience what it is like working in the field is critical. These kids get to see how life is after they graduate and if this is a field they are interested in, this is a cool way to get some exposure and answer questions they may have." shared Aaron Elrod, Oftedal Equipment Manager. 


Students learned about heavy equipment maintenance and repair throughout the day in a construction setting with six stations for students to rotate through; Heavy Equipment Operation, Powertrains (engines, transmissions), Machining and Welding On-Highway Truck and Trailer, Heavy Equipment Repair, and Light Vehicle Repairs.


Pathways Innovation Center (P.I.C.) is an extension of Natrona County’s high school system. Pathways courses of study include college–preparatory curriculum, industry certifications, portfolio development, and internships. P.I.C. offers advanced and professional coursework in the 11th and 12th grades, which build on introductory experiences. 


Students shared with us their reflections and excitement about the Oftedal experience and their time at Pathways Innovation Center: 


“My favorite thing about the field trip to Oftedal is getting to see the dino operated, see how it works and what it is used for and getting to learn a little bit about how a diesel engine works. I really enjoy the PIC experience, like their diesel class. The environment is welcoming, and the learning makes me want to learn more. I'm always excited to come to class the next day. ” - Elijah Puzella


“My favorite part about visiting Oftedal was getting to experience how the skills and knowledge we learn in the classroom and shop at PIC are applied in the workforce. The trip to Oftedal was a great opportunity to see the different options that are out in the automotive industry for career paths after high school. At Pathways, our class is learning about automotive/ diesel applications that are commonly worked on in the field. We have learned about things that are very important in the industry, such as preventative maintenance on systems including brakes and HVAC systems. We have also learned to take apart, fix, and replace these different components of vehicles and machines so that we can use this knowledge in places outside of the classroom. This gives us the potential for a job in the given field. ” - Kolton Havens


“My favorite part about visiting Oftedal was getting to ride in the hauler truck and spend time out of the classroom learning at a business from people doing the work as a career. I like PIC because it lets me do stuff that is hand’s-on, I get to learn about engines and vehicles, and I’m not just sitting at a desk all day.” - Tre’ Sell 

"It is really good to see what life could be like outside of high school and fun to see the people that are actually working on these big machines out in the field. I think the Pathways programs are great! I don't understand why more people don't take advantage of them. I love going to Pathways in the morning; it really makes my day most of the time and has definitely made high school a lot more enjoyable." - Levi Biggs 

"What we are seeing at Oftedal expands upon what we are doing in class, especially with the new equipment we are trying to get. We are trying to get a new semi lift to be able to work on bigger semis and diesel. A lot of what they are showing us will go right along with that. Pathways has made it very clear what I wanted to do with life and made it very easy to get there. Through Pathways we have been able to have experiences like this, getting to talk with people in business like this. It is awesome that they are willing to shut down their shop and have us in here! It is good to see their shop, and they can see who they might want to hire.” - Nick Berrens 


NCSD is committed to working with our community to develop and engage at the school and district levels and community partnerships to foster a climate of high expectations for all. We want to express our appreciation for Oftedal Construction and our many community partners who support, inspire, and provide learning opportunities for our students. 

We are incredibly fortunate to have the terrific students, staff, school families, Board of Trustees, and community members who go above and beyond every day, in and out of the classroom, to ensure excellence in Natrona County.