One of the major accomplishments of TALF has been its partnership with Navistar (particularly with retired CEO and Thornton alumnus Dan Ustian and supportive Navistar vendors) to establish the Thornton Township Academy of Truck and Diesel Technology-Powered by Navistar.
This outstanding, three-year training program began in 2009, and from the first four graduating classes, 108 seniors (including 10 females) have completed the program.
Since 2011 more than 90 diesel students have worked in internships and coop positions with a variety of local employers.
From the 108 graduates…
- 37 went directly from high school to full-time positions in the diesel industry;
- 62 made the commitment to attend in institution of higher education, including 21 who declared a major in a STEM-related field.
The diesel training program consistently has an attendance rate of 95 percent or better and a 98 percent graduation rate.
Learn more about the Navistar program on the District 205 website.
A 2013 Graduate Expresses Thanks
“…This email is solely me reaching back and giving thanks for the Navistar Diesel Technology program. I was a graduate from the class of 2013. I can’t explain how much being in the Navistar program has benefited me. After graduation, I always knew that I had a bright future ahead of me. I am now going into my third year as an engineering student at Northern Illinois University. I am also now the president of an engineering organization at NIU. Navistar [Diesel Technology] has been something to brag about. It has [resulted in] plenty of job offers.
“Explaining to employers how the program allowed me as a high school student to tear down and rebuild  diesel engines  made me stand out from the rest. All of the mechanical skills that [you] taught me as [have] not only allowed me to apply that information to engineering, but I can fix my own car. The simple things you learn take you a long way. I currently have an internship within a automotive parts company . I have to say, bringing up the [Thornton Diesel Technology Powered by] Navistar program is one the main reasons I’m here. I hope all is going well with the program. Thank you once again. Navistar looks extremely [impressive] on my resume.”
Northern Illinois University
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Emphasis: Engineering Management