Heavy equipment operator class completes program

Published 8:52 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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Jefferson State’s Heavy Equipment Operator Program has produced another group of students who are ready for work. These students were recognized during a special celebration on April 7 at Jefferson State’s Chilton-Clanton Campus.

The industry-designed Heavy Equipment Operator program is offered in conjunction with the Alabama Community College System and more than 20 industry partners across Central Alabama.

The program addresses the need for more certified construction and heavy equipment workers for infrastructure projects across the state.

“Alabama’s community colleges across the state are at the table with business and industry leaders to identify solutions to the state’s workforce needs,” said Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker. “The Heavy Equipment Operator program at Jefferson State is a prime example of identifying a need and working with industry to address it in a timely manner through a short-term training solution yielding qualified, certified students who are ready to work on day one.”

The new program is a 12-week training model that assists students ages 18 and older in obtaining three nationally recognized certifications for Heavy Equipment Operators while they train both inside a classroom and on jobsites with area employers. The program has been assisted by funding from the Craft Training Board of Alabama.

“Working alongside our business and industry partners creates positive outcomes for everyone and we’re eager to expand on the success of this pilot program,” said Jefferson State President Keith Brown. “The Heavy Equipment Operator Program will increase the number of skilled operators to help meet industry demands and it will help individuals acquire valuable jobs to make a better life for themselves and their families.”

The program is currently offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings with hands-on training on Saturdays and Sundays to provide needed flexibility for individuals seeking to enter the construction industry. The curriculum is based on the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Soft Skills Training Certification, Wheeled Loader Certification, and Wheeled Excavator Certification. Industry feedback on the program design ensures that students who complete the program have the skills needed for immediate employment as equipment operators.

“As Alabama continues to develop the training needed for all jobs, both with academic and technical training, the trade skills gap continues to grow. As one generation begins to enter into the retirement age, another generation is not trained to fill those shoes,” said Chilton County Industrial Development Board Executive Director Whitney Barlow. “To address this gap, leaders must work together to find creative and expansive solutions to meet the needs of employers across the state. The pilot program at Jefferson State is a prime example of an innovative solution to meet local industry needs.”

Graduates include:

Jacoby Alexander, Heath McCray, Logan Sullivan, Allan Veasey, Johnnie Harris, Adron Brooks, Craig Walker, Gregory Nance, Christopher Mast and Lakeysha Floyd-Evans

For more information on this pilot program, visit jeffersonstate.edu/ .