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frequently asked questions

How Do I Apply?

Download a ThinkBig Northwest application. See the information at the bottom of page 4 of the application for details on how to submit.

Additionally, you can request more information on the program by e-mailing thinkbig.northwest@petersoncat.com.

After I Fill Out an Application, Will I Need to Provide Anything Else?

Yes, see page 2 of the application:

  • A 250 word essay describing why you are interested in the program and why you feel you are a good fit for the program.
  • Copies of your high school and, if applicable, college transcripts
  • 3 letters of reference: one from a teacher or counselor, one from an employer and one from anyone of your choice
  • If you are a veteran, a copy of your DD214

What Is Peterson Looking For In An Applicant

  • A commitment to a career with Peterson in the Heavy Equipment industry
  • A strong mechanical aptitude
  • A High School Diploma, GED or equivalent

Is It Easy to Gain a Seat in the Program?

No. Selection is a competitive process, and each year Peterson receives more applications than there are available seats. However, candidates that apply for the program can also learn about Peterson’s other community college scholarships and trade school tuition reimbursement opportunities.

Is the Thinkbig Program the Only Way to Begin a Career as a Service Technician with Peterson?

No. Peterson also hires from other sources, including community college diesel/heavy equipment programs, such as Lane Community College, Linn Benton Community College, Clark Community College and Portland Community College and commercial trade schools such as UTI and Wyotech.

Technicians with related experience such as military service, the automotive industry or the heavy equipment industry are also job candidates.

How Often to Classes Start?

Once a year, Peterson interviews in the spring, and new students begin school in September or October.


Where Do I Live While in School?

ThinkBig participants have taken advantage of a number of options, such as:

  • Living in extended-stay hotels
  • Sharing an apartment with other students
  • Bring trailers to local RV parks

Where do Students Work during their Internships?

Interns are assigned to the Peterson store that will give them the best opportunities to develop their skills. If an intern is asked to work at a store that is not close to their home, Peterson can help with housing.

After graduation Peterson will attempt to place employees at the store of their choice based on business conditions.

What does a Student have to Pay for to Complete the Program?

Students are required to pay for:

  • Tuition
  • School Fees
  • Housing (if needed)
  • Food
  • Books

How does a Student Pay to Complete the Program?

  • Earnings from Internship employment at Peterson.
  • ThinkBIG also qualifies for many financial aid programs and the GI Bill.

How Long Do I Have To Work For Peterson After I Graduate

There is no contract, Peterson offers great jobs for service technicians with great pay and benefits, people want to work for Peterson.

How Can I Learn More?

Mace Gjerman
Technical Training Dept