GALLIPOLIS — A Gallipolis native and his Columbus-based company were recently featured in The New York Times.
Tim Spurlock, a 1986 graduate from Gallia Academy High School and a Gallipolis Daily Tribune “paperboy” from 1978 through 1981, is a co-founder and CEO of American Diesel Training Centers, a career program to train entry-level diesel technicians. Spurlock said he co-founded the company with another Southern Ohio native four years ago as a way to “disrupt the current model of higher education.”
Spurlock has a career background in educational publishing where he worked sales for a global company that made curriculum for automotive programs. Spurlock said he realized that enrollment in such programs in Ohio were “poor” and becoming low compared to the need for diesel technicians.
According to Spurlock, the program began in July 2017 and has now graduated over 800 people from American Diesel Training Centers.
The New York Times article referenced job training at no cost until the student is hired. American Diesel Training Centers partners with Social Finance, a non-profit company that helps fund the training and tuition for students. Spurlock said the “vast majority” of students at the training centers are funded through Social Finance.
Spurlock said Social Finance pays American Diesel Training a portion of the students tuition when they begin the program. Depending on the students wage after completion of the program, a monthly payment will be made.
Spurlock said funding through Social Finance was an answer to a problem in the program. He said the centers had the educational model, but funding for some students was an issue because federal student loans were not accepted.
For Spurlock, getting people through the five-week program is all about helping them get meaningful jobs to have careers with economic mobility. Spurlock said the typical student at American Diesel Training Centers is a 27 year old in a relationship with children and are working low-skill, low-wage and high-effort jobs.
“People leave our program making just under $14,000 more than they did when they came into the program,” Spurlock said. “Social Finance opens up an entire new world of opportunity for students who never would have seen it.”
Spurlock said there was recently a fellow Gallipolis resident in the program — Dustin Bickers.
“I had no idea he was from Gallipolis until just before he started in our program,” Spurlock told Ohio Valley Publishing, noting how things “come full circle.”
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.