ATC introduces heavy equipment pathway
Last week, the Nelson County Area Technology Center unveiled its newest career pathway, heavy equipment, to the community and industry professionals. Program instructor Scott Thompson highlights his future for the early stages of the pathway.
Nelson County Schools has only been in session for less than two weeks, but the ATC has already begun to offer new opportunities for the school year with the introduction of the new heavy equipment pathway. Thompson will helm this new pathway designed to give students hands-on experience with heavy machinery such as skid steers and excavators.
“This is just a starting point,” Thompson said. “The seeds have been planted and we really truly feel like … a jumping off point. … Starting out with these two pieces (of equipment) we’re planning on getting a backhoe, the laser level and the transit equipment so the students can do all that. … When they get to the job site their first day of work and they get handed that shovel, they’re familiar with all that equipment and they’re not going to be caught off guard by industry terms that they’ve never heard of.”
The inception of the heavy equipment pathway began after asking what students and industry professionals asked for the future of the ATC. College and Career Lead Kyle Boblitt credits Misty Roller with beginning the conversation around heavy equipment and diesel mechanics pathways for the ATC. Roller, ATC’s Community Relations Lead, said she was told in the next five years jobs that will continue to grow in demand will be equipment operators, truck drivers and CTE educators.
Roller said earlier this year they had to push back their timelines as plans on the new additions to the ATC encounter some roadblocks. As plans shifted, Roller said it was uncertain if it would all fall together to create the heavy equipment pathway before the school began. Fortunately, Roller said, thanks to many things falling into place they were able to offer the pathway to students, changing schedules just days before school starts. She thanked school staff and community members for helping them make the pathway a possibility.
“When you hear us talk about uniting people, place and purpose, I hope that today proves to you that it is not just something we say,” Roller said. “We believe it. We live it. We act upon it and I hope you see that today. Employers that are in the room that come to the table that helped us get to where we are.”
In the creation of the heavy equipment pathway, several local businesses played a part in getting it off the ground. Amy Boyd-Johnson from Boyd Cat spoke about the future of the trades industry as more schools continue to provide opportunities for students to learn essential skills for our infrastructure. Boyd Cat also helped provide the ATC with its first two pieces of equipment for the pathway, a used skid steer and used excavator.
“We are just so excited about the Nelson County UP Center (ATC) and all of its programs,” she said. “… Trades are such a vital part to our communities and families. They’re essential. Why do you think all of our businesses got to stay open during covid? We’re essential, right? We’re needed to support our communities”
Thompson said with this being the first year of the pathway, it is important to make connection now to businesses within the community for himself as the instruction and for his students. He said he has already asked LG&E to come speak with the class and lend them additional equipment.
Looking to the content of the pathway, Thompson said he is beginning the students on the history of heavy machinery and construction and lessons around safety. He said it’s essential they know how to keep themselves safe while operating and being around large equipment before they are able to get their true hands-on experience.
“We’re going to spend a great deal of time on safety,” he said. “I’ve got folks coming in that are going to help us and LG&E, KU (Kentucky Utilities) are one of them. They’ll actually be here doing a presentation on underground utilities, gas lines, underground electric. I’m taking (the students) through as a person who basically is unfamiliar with a worksite, that person walking onto a worksite and what to expect. That’s where we’re going to take this journey together with myself and the students. Although the ultimate goal is them having that knowledge of not only running the equipment and running it safely and efficiently, but at the same time knowing everything there is to know on the worksite.”
STORY CREDIT: Katelyn Norris, Kentucky Standard
The Nelson County Area Technology Center unveiled its newest career pathway, heavy equipment, to the community and industry professionals. Program instructor Scott Thompson highlights his future for the early stages of the pathway. Thompson will helm this new pathway designed to give students hands-on experience with heavy machinery such as skid steers and excavators.
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