LFCC students will train on a Vortex simulator similar to the one in this illustration.
Having an education like this where somebody can come directly out of the credentialing process and make a decent living will be a huge benefit to our community.
— T.J. Rodgers, S.W. Rodgers Co. Inc. project manager
Lord Fairfax will become the first community college in Virginia to offer statewide industry credential programs for heavy equipment operators.
LFCC has received a $453,686 Workforce Capacity Building grant from the Virginia Community College System to launch the program. The grant will fund establishment of a heavy equipment operator credential program at LFCC’s Vint Hill site and for the expansion of several trades programs on the Fauquier campus.
Beginning this winter, LFCC will offer the commonwealth’s first statewide-recognized industry credential program for heavy equipment operations. The college will use the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s curriculum and national industry credentialing.
Students will train on state-of-the-art Vortext simulation equipment.
“The simulation equipment will allow our students to gain hands-on training on multiple types of heavy construction equipment that will replicate real-life operating scenarios through rotating-motion platforms and high-resolution 3-D displays,” LFCC Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education Vice President Jeanian Clark said. “Students will do the actual motions and feel the vibrations while moving, digging and lifting in real-time weather and soil conditions.”
Graduates will operate heavy equipment used to construct roads, bridges and buildings.
The immediate Fauquier County region needs an estimated 150 new construction equipment operators each year. Those jobs paying an average of $43,000 a year.
With high demand for the skilled operators in Northern Virginia, the Heavy Construction Contractors Association suggested the program to LFCC program leaders.
“There is absolutely a need for qualified heavy equipment operators,” said HCCA Secretary T.J. Rodgers, a project manager with Gainesville-based S.W. Rodgers Co. Inc. “With the Interstate 66 widening project, we’re going to see an increasing shortage of qualified operators.
“Having an education like this where somebody can come directly out of the credentialing process and make a decent living will be a huge benefit to our community,” Mr. Rodgers added.
The VCCS grant also will allow LFCC to expand its electrical, HVAC and plumbing trades programs in Fauquier County to full Level-4 Journeyman potential, allowing students to apply for state licensure.
LFCC’s main campus at Middletown already offers the full apprenticeship programs in those trades.