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March 23, 2018

Scholarships open for LFCC heavy equipment training

File photo/Cassandra Brown
Samuel Chilcote tries one of the simulators at Lord Fairfax Community College’s open house for the new heavy equipment operator program in November.
Students interested in enrolling in the Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) program at Lord Fairfax Community College’s Vint Hill campus can take the courses for 75 percent less with a generous scholarship.

The Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA) and members David Hazel of William A. Hazel Inc., and Jim Anderson of The Anderson Co., have created a $50,000 scholarship fund.

The fund will give about 25 students a $2,000 scholarship to take the course.

The next heavy equipment class begins in April at Vint Hill — 24 seats in Level 1 and 12 for Level 2.

The Level 1 class costs $687 after the scholarship. For Level 2, tuition costs $660 after the scholarship.

Last fall, LFCC became the first community college in Virginia to offer a statewide-recognized industry credential program for heavy equipment operators.

Twenty-five students enrolled in the inaugural Level 1 course.

“The members of the HCCA understand that building a vibrant workforce is integral to meeting Virginia’s infrastructure needs,” HCCA Executive Director Ken Garrison said. “Making this needed training accessible to Virginia residents will help relieve the critical shortage of trained operators.

“HCCA is pleased to partner with Lord Fairfax, both in creating the HEO course and in hiring its graduates,” Mr. Garrison added.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity and leadership of the HCCA,” said LFCC’s Vice President for Workforce, Jeanian Clark. “LFCC’s fast-track, heavy equipment operator program is a great example of what a community college can achieve in collaboration with our partners in business and industry.”

Students in the program get trained by experienced instructors and use state-of-the-art simulation equipment.

Students can complete each level in two months, and graduates have the necessary credential to obtain entry-level employment in the industry.

According to Carlene Hurdle, LFCC’s workforce coordinator in Fauquier, graduates of the program who are not currently employed in the heavy construction field will be guaranteed an interview with HR personnel from several local construction companies.

“It is these newly-skilled operators who will provide the backbone of the construction industry,” Mr. Harrison said. “The HCCA is proud to make this contribution to bridge the current funding gap for workforce education in this year’s state budget, and to keep Virginia moving forward.

“We at the HCCA see this as an investment in Virginia’s future.”

It is projected that nearly 150 new construction equipment operators will be needed each year in the immediate Fauquier County region, with those jobs paying an average of $43,000 a year, according to a LFCC press release.

Interested students should visit lfccworkforce.com/HEO or call 540-868-7021 for more information about the scholarship and the heavy equipment operator program.

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