Kempner Man Outstanding Graduate At WyoTech

The following article is from the Copperas Cove Leader Press.

On Thursday, the WyoTech campus in Laramie, Wyo. Is celebrating the graduation of 208 students who have completed a nine-month course of automotive technology, diesel technology and collision and refinishing training, preparing them to immediately enter the workforce in a field with a high demand for skilled workers.

Seven of those 208 graduates will also graduate from WyoTech’s Diesel Advanced Technology Education (DATE) program for Mack trucks and Volvo trucks, a specialized program in which graduates obtain manufacturer certifications that prepare them for careers at Mack Truck and Volvo Truck dealers and fleets nationwide.

Among those seven is Kempner resident Cody Bohannon, a military veteran who has spent the last nine months in Laramie completing his diesel technology coursework and the DATE program. Bohannon’s wife and almost two-year-old daughter remained in Kempner while Cody has lived in his fifth-wheel trailer out of state.

For Bohannon, who spent a total of 42 months deployed during three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, the separation from his family was nothing new and something the entire family took in stride. On Thursday morning, he’s driving straight back to Kempner to arrive in time to celebrate his daughter’s second birthday this weekend.

Not only did Bohannon complete the DATE program, which makes him certified to work on Mack and Volvo trucks, but he was given the distinction of being named as this class’ Outstanding Graduate.

He already has a job waiting for him when he returns to Texas.

At a recent job fair held by the college, there were 45 potential employers on site and Bohannon interviewed with 25 of them—and received job offers from all 25 companies.

"They were from all over the country, the north, the northeast, and three companies from Texas," Bohannon said. For him, it came down to two companies—one in Joliet, Ill. and the other being Vanguard Truck Center, in Buda, south of Austin. He chose to return to Texas because this is where his family is, and their support system is here, with his mother helping watch their daughter during the day. Bohannon said one thing that surprised him was that only three Texas companies recruited at the job fair with so many qualified, employable candidates.

Bohannon said that for him, entering the diesel technology field after separating from the Army was something he was passionate about. During his time in the Army, he worked as an "88 Michael", or motor transport operator, where he learned to hone his mechanical skills.

"We learned to work on a little bit of everything, and I was able to carry that over to my training at WyoTech," Bohannon said, adding that he found the college while doing an online search for diesel training schools prior to leaving the military.

Chad Romiti, with WyoTech public relations, said students like Bohannon are exactly what employers who come to the WyoTech job fairs are looking for.

"We’ve found that veterans have the discipline and drive to be successful in our programs," Romiti said. Training programs like the ones at WyoTech can help veterans find a successful career path after leaving the military.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a worsening skills shortage for installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, which will result in about 365,500 new jobs, making service technicians and mechanics one of the top jobs with the potential for significant job openings over the next decade.

WyoTech has the designation of "Military and Veteran Supportive Campus" from the United States Military Educators Association (USMEA). In addition to Laramie, Wyo., WyoTech has campuses in Blairsville, Penn. and Daytona Beach, Fla.

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