Starting in June, Volvo/General Motors mechanics will be traveling to Utah from every state west of the Mississippi to receive specialized training at the Davis Area Technology Center.

Western White GMC, an operating unit of Volvo/GM Heavy Truck Corp., and the Davis Area Technology Center have signed an agreement that will not only provide training for the corporation but will bring hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment to the center.Technology center students will also be exposed to the training.

"`This is an important step for us," said center spokeswoman Sheryl Allen. "It's our first partnership with business. It will allow our students to have interchange with their students as well as key service people."

Allen said technology center officials hope that a positive side effect will be the placement of students in jobs with Volvo/GM. "But that's not part of the agreement."

What is part of the agreement is $2,000 per month that Volvo/GM will pay the center to use the center's facilities. The money will be used to pay for an additional instructor who has already been hired.

It is expected that Volvo/GM will use the technology center for two weeks per month, training 12 to 15 of its people at a time.

Allen said the contract, in addition to benefiting the Davis Area Technology Center, is a small boost to the local economy because the Volvo/GM personnel will stay in Bountiful motels.

Volvo/GM will supply the technology center with several new diesel tractors that students can use for training. Repair and diagnostic equipment valued at over $50,000 has already been supplied by Volvo/GM with more to come, said Allen.

"The donation of their equipment is extremely valuable because it is hard for state institutions to keep up in equipment."

Davis Area Technology Center Superintendent Jack Shell he believes the partnership will make the center's heavy-duty diesel program "one of the finest in the nation."

The center has a 2,000-hour diesel mechanics program that usually takes about 16 months to complete, Allen said. "Having access to brand new Volvo trucks is really going to be an advantage for (our students)."

The Volvo/GM agreement with the center is similar to one the company has with a North Carolina community college that provides training to Volvo/GM mechanics east of the Mississippi, Allen said.