June 17, 2019
Teenagers complete heavy equipment operator course
You’re getting a tremendous start, right out of high school. You need to go tell people about what you’ve been through. Pay it forward.
— Heavy Construction Contractors Association Executive Director Ken Garrison
Lord Fairfax Community College will host an open house for prospective heavy equipment operator students in the simulator lab.
10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 22.
4151 Weeks Drive, Warrenton, Va. 20187 (Vint Hill)
• Website: fccworkforce.com
A group of local 17- and 18-year-olds last week sat at tables draped with the logos of the organizations that recruited them.
Such signing ceremonies routinely take place for high school athletes selecting colleges.
But, for the first time, Lord Fairfax Community College on Thursday hosted a signing ceremony for eight high school graduates of its heavy equipment operator program and the companies that hired them.
The recent graduates — who completed the training in night classes during their final semester of high school — inked employment offers from S.W. Rodgers, Superior Paving and Shirley Contracting. William A. Hazel’s new recruit missed the ceremony.
“My godmother was on Facebook, and she found it,” recent Kettle Run High graduate Adam Ford explained after the ceremony at LFCC’s Vint Hill center. “She suggested I apply” last fall.
What did he plan after graduation?
“I didn’t know,” said Adam, 17. “I was thinking about doing a trade.”
After completing the intensive classes from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, March through May, at Vint Hill, Adam accepted a job offer from Superior Paving.
He’ll start as a laborer before moving up to skid-steer operator and then to a loader.
“I think I’ll be ready and I think I’ll be able to move up,” Adam said.
The students did much of their work on two sophisticated simulators that LFCC purchased with almost $470,000 in grant funding.
In dire need of skilled operators, local excavating and road building companies a couple of years ago started brainstorming.
Heavy Construction Contractors Association Executive Director Ken Garrison played a key role in launching the program. His association’s members also contributed to scholarships, making the $2,748 course more affordable for students.
“This is 21st-century learning, using experience and opportunity to apply what you’ve learned right away,” Fauquier school Superintendent David Jeck said during Thursday’s ceremony. “When I left a four-year school (college), I didn’t have a skill to do anything.
“I hope this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Jeck continued, citing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s emphasis on ensuring students develop transferable skills.
“You’re getting a tremendous start, right out of high school,” Mr. Garrison told the graduates and their families. “You need to go tell people about what you’ve been through. Pay it forward.”
Since last year, 97 students have completed LFCC’s heavy equipment operator training. But, Thursday’s ceremony recognized its first group of high school students to complete the program. They include:
• Andrew Beavers, Liberty High, Superior Paving.
• Logan Falls, Fauquier High, Superior Paving.
• Adam Ford, Kettle Run High, Superior Paving.
• William Hahn, Kettle Run High, Shirley Contracting.
• Key Hunter, Battlefield High, S.W. Rodgers.
• Brad Tavenner, Battlefield High, S.W. Rodgers.
• Jonathan Vigil, Liberty High, Superior Paving.
Fauquier County Public Schools considered the class an elective and covered the cost for nine students. The evening class started in March, and two students from Prince William County also signed up. Those two students only paid $916 each, thanks to FastForward funding, which covered two-thirds of the program cost.
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Truepat · June 18, 2019 at 8:31 am
jones1972mark · June 18, 2019 at 5:24 am
Very proud of you Logan Falls and the many young citizens who participated in the program. What a great partnership to meet the needs of business, community, and most importantly the individual. Dr. Jeck continues to be a wonderful leader ensuring all Fauquier County students are transitioning to places for future development and prosperity. Great story FauquierNow.
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