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November 7, 2017

LFCC ready to start heavy equipment training

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 last week.
This past week, I’ve seen five heavy equipment jobs pop up on Indeed.
— Samuel Chilcote
Heavy Equipment Training
• What: Two-month, nationally certified program, Level I & II.

• Where: Lord Fairfax Community College Vint Hill campus, 4151 Weeks Drive, Warrenton.

• When: Level I, Dec. 2 to Jan. 14 and Dec. 4 to Feb. 26; Level II, Dec. 5 to Feb. 22.

• Website: Click here.

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Looking to advance in his career, the 24-year-old construction worker decided to sign up for Lord Fairfax Community College’s new heavy equipment operator training.

Warrenton resident Samuel Chilcote has worked as a mechanic, construction laborer and landscaper since graduating from Fauquier High School in 2012.

“I’ve been into heavy machinery all my life,” Mr. Chilcote said.

He has operated small construction vehicles, such as a Dingo and Bobcat, but hopes to expand his knowledge with the Level I heavy equipment course.

“I would like to elevate my status and run heavy equipment instead of just doing labor work,” Mr. Chilcote said. “This past week, I’ve seen five heavy equipment jobs pop up on Indeed.”

About 25 people attended an open house for the program Thursday at LFCC’s Vint Hill site.

Beginning in December, Lord Fairfax will offer Virginia’s first statewide-recognized industry credential program for heavy equipment operations. Students can get certified through the program in about two months.

“This is for anyone who wants to start, enhance or change their career,” said LFCC Workforce Development Coordinator Carlene Hurdle, whose position Fauquier County helps fund.

Using two simulators, students will experience realistic heavy equipment operating scenarios. The simulators cost $125,000 each.

LFCC received a $453,686 Workforce Capacity Building grant from the Virginia Community College System to launch the program at Vint Hill and to expand other trade programs on the Fauquier campus.

The college will use the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s curriculum and national industry credentialing.

With high demand for the skilled operators in Northern Virginia, the Heavy Construction Contractors Association suggested the program to LFCC leaders.

The course will meet an “enormous need” for heavy equipment jobs in the area with Interstate 66 and 95 projects, according to Ms. Hurdle.

Heavy equipment operators typically earn $17 to $27 an hour, according to the Heavy Construction Contractors Association.

“Some (students) are here because of a career change. Some have been in retail and are looking to do something different. Some aren’t college-bound,” Ms. Hurdle said.

Upon completion of the program, students will have guaranteed interviews with representatives of several local construction companies.

The Level I course costs $2,748. The Level II course costs $2,637.

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