LFCC Awarded Major Grant To Train Heavy Equipment Operators

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LFCC will become the first community college in Virginia to offer statewide industry credential programs for heavy equipment operators. The college has been awarded a $453,686 Workforce Capacity Building grant from the Virginia Community College System. The grant will allow for the 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 be trained using state-of-the-art 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 3D displays,” LFCC Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education Vice President Jeanian Clark says. “Students will do the actual motions and feel the vibrations while moving, digging and lifting in real-time weather and soil conditions.”

Graduates of the program would operate heavy equipment used to build roads, bridges, and buildings.

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. There is also significant demand for the skilled technicians in Northern Virginia. The Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA) suggested the program to LFCC program leaders.

“There is absolutely a need for qualified heavy equipment operators,” says HCCA Secretary T.J. Rodgers, a project manager with S.W. Rodgers Co. Inc. “With the Interstate 66 widening project, we’re going to see an increasing shortage of qualified operators.”

The high cost of a four-year degree combined with the increased need for skilled technicians has led to the critical need for training such as LFCC’s new heavy equipment operator program.

“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,” Rodgers adds.

Also thanks to the VCCS grant, LFCC will expand its electrical, HVAC and plumbing trades programs in Fauquier County to their full Level-4 Journeyman potential, allowing students to apply for state licensure. The Middletown Campus already offers the full apprenticeship programs in those trades.

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Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.