ThinkBIG Technician Training Program

ThinkBIG Technician Training Program

The ThinkBIG Technician Training Program is a unique two-year associate’s degree program that combines hands-on experience at our Boyd CAT facilities with specialized classes at Illinois Central College in Peoria, IL, alternating between the two every eight weeks. With ongoing mentorship from our experienced technicians throughout the duration of the program, this experience is uniquely valuable.

Students are selected for sponsorship based on their previous academic achievement and testing for mechanical aptitude. Selected students have the opportunity for tuition assistance and could earn up to full tuition reimbursement. After the program, participants will have earned their associate’s in either Diesel Engine or Heavy Equipment Technology (an Applied Science degree), in addition to having the opportunity to earn over $20,000 through internship wages with on-the-job training.

For the upcoming recruitment window, applications must be submitted by February 1, 2024, and selected candidates will be announced by the end of May 2024. The program’s ultimate goal is for its students to have everything they need for full-time employment in the field of heavy equipment upon completion if business conditions support the addition of personnel.

This sponsorship offers the recipient paid hands-on work internships at identified Boyd CAT facilities during the term of the program, which may lead to further job opportunities post-graduation.


To apply for the ThinkBIG Technician Training Program, applicants must:

  • Complete the online application for the “ThinkBIG Co-op” by going to and identifying a location that has posted an opening for “ThinkBIG Co-op.” Read the position description and answer all questions.
  • Compile important documents and review them with a school counselor, including: High school transcript, two reference letters (one from a teacher and one from non-school, non-family personnel), and a Career Potential Essay (a minimum one page typed, double-spaced statement) including the applicant’s career objectives and interests in the diesel/heavy equipment field. The essay should also include community and high school activities, work activities, and other important information.
  • Send the completed application and documents digitally to or mail them via US Postal Service to:
      • Kelsie Conner
      • Recruiting & Employee Experience Manager
      • Boyd Company
      • 10001 Linn Station RD
      • Louisville, KY 40223

    In addition, the applicant must be available for a pre-employment assessment at a Boyd CAT facility, selection committee interviews, and an Illinois Central College campus visit in Peoria, IL.


    Applicants must take the Illinois Central College academic placement and mechanical reasoning tests to be admitted to the program to determine appropriate class placement. Testing ensures that students meet required academic guidelines and are prepared to succeed within the program.

    Other test scores, such as ACT or SAT scores, are also considered for admission to the program. Also, students must have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.7 or higher.

    For placement testing and transcript submission, current high school students must send a copy of their transcript for review to Dawn Witt, ThinkBIG Admin Assistant, via email at or by fax at 309-694-8525. For those who are graduated or have college credit, their official transcripts should be sent via their learning institution electronically through a secure service provider or by mail to:

      • Illinois Central College
      • Enrollment Services
      • 1 College Drive
      • East Peoria, IL 61635-0001


To complete the program, students must meet with their assigned academic advisor and plan a course schedule that fulfills all course requirements. The student’s academic advisor will help the student create a schedule that takes into consideration semesters consisting of eight weeks of technical classroom study and eight weeks of dealer-sponsored internship work experience. While students are on campus, they must pay for their housing in monthly payment installments.

Additionally, students must provide their own set of tools during their course of study. To assist in this, Boyd CAT has a tool program to help ThinkBIG Co-op students start their careers with an affordable tooling set. These tools are specially designed for both work in the classroom and on the job.

ThinkBIG students have the option to obtain toolset required, with a Caterpillar branded toolbox from Boyd CAT.

To remain in and graduate from the program, students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average each semester. A break in enrollment or unsatisfactory progress in the program will terminate the sponsorship except for extenuating circumstances, such as illness.


We see a bright future for aspiring technicians and are proud to be a part of supporting their career paths. To learn more about the ThinkBIG Technician Training Program and Co-op, and see if Boyd CAT is a good fit for you, start the application process here.

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