Local career technical center breaks ground with new technology

Education

LAWRENCE COUNTY, OHIO (WOWK) — Collins Career Technical Center is training the up-and-coming workforce of heavy equipment operators a little differently this year.

“There’s hardly nothing that this thing don’t do.” 

Mark Norris, Heavy Equipment instructor, Collins Career Technical Center

“This is the brand-new adult ed[ucation] heavy equipment program that we started; this is day two!” 

Michael Staton, associate director, Collins Career Technical Center

The Collins Career Technical Center recently installed two heavy equipment simulators to teach aspiring operators—and they do a lot:

“Everything from digging a ditch to loading a truck to just, I mean anything really. It teaches the proper way, the safe way to run this equipment while you’re not being on a big machine.” 

Mark Norris, Heavy Equipment instructor, Collins Career Technical Center
One of the two simulators. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

Mark Norris, the instructor of this groundbreaking new class says this is a much safer way to train students.

“It’s a lot easier to get someone to stop doing something wrong in the classroom than it is out in the field.”

Mark Norris, Heavy Equipment instructor, Collins Career Technical Center
Mark Norris (left) says it’s easier to train students in the classroom than it is on the heavy equipment. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

“The skillsets and what they’re gonna do with these simulators is muscle memory: how the controllers work, what the controllers operate, and get used to doing that without fear of damaging something.”

Michael Staton, associate director, Collins Career Technical Center

Not only are the simulators designed to teach a range of operations, but they are making the students using them more employable in the area.

“They’re going to get 1,265 hours from now through October.” 

Michael Staton, associate director, Collins Career Technical Center

Those hours include real-life training on sites owned by the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation.

Associate Director Michael Staton says this in-depth training process will be crucial for the Tri-State’s workforce.

“Different indicators indicate that Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia over the next two years are going to need somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 thousand operators.” 

Michael Staton, associate director, Collins Career Technical Center

This prospect is one which students of the program find promising.

“The fact of knowing there’s something there to come to, and this class is gonna help me get there…it’s a little overwhelming.” 

Billy McKinley, student, Collins Career Technical Center

The course is currently fully-enrolled, but for more information on the class and Collins Career Technical Center, visit their website here.

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