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Heavy equipment operator program moves forward

Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) completed an analysis on key occupational gaps that exist in the region. This gap analysis led CAEDC to focus on Healthcare, Advanced Manufacturing and Heavy Equipment, as these occupations have the highest demand for workers by 2024 and are good paying jobs.

CAEDC along with its partners are excited to announce that the Heavy Equipment program has been developed and is available for students to enroll in the first summer program. The curriculum was developed in partnership with Gleim Excavating, Alexander Construction, PennDOT and Pennsy Supply to ensure the program would include training important to those in the industry.

“Having been in business for almost 50 years, our company has experienced several economic changes, and getting ahead of the curve is what most companies in our business strive to do,” said John T. Gleim, Vice President of John W. Gleim, Jr., Excavating Inc. “We feel utilizing and supporting local pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs and other related public/private partnerships is the best way to reduce our workforce development gap. It is prudent to invest in the future of our industry.”

Cumberland Valley High School Update

Provided by: Frederick S. Withum III, Ed.D., Superintendent Cumberland Valley School District

A student who completes a pre-apprenticeship through Cumberland Valley School District (CVSD) or Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School (CPAVTS), and then an apprenticeship through Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), and demonstrates the work ethic for residential and commercial construction has amazing opportunities available to them within months of graduating high school with virtually little or no debt.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics report that employment of construction and heavy equipment operators is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, a gain of about 747,600 new jobs. Overall growth in the economy and population will increase demand for new buildings, roads, and other structures, which will create new jobs in these occupations.

The median annual wage for all heavy equipment operation occupations was $44,730 in May 2017, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $37,690. If you couple a Commercial Driver’s License or train to be a skilled tradesman/woman in areas like diesel mechanics, welding, or GPS mapping the potential earning is greater than many college majors.

It should also be recognized that students who wish to become architects, civil engineers, industrial designers, material specialists, or any of a dozen other professions that require a four-year degree would be served well by having completed the pre-apprenticeship curriculum regardless if they choose to do an apprenticeship through HACC.

The summer opportunities to earn money and practical work experience will separate those students from the pack as they complete college and seek employment. This innovative program was made possible by a partnership between CVSD, CPAVTS, HACC, local businesses, CAEDC, and with the support of the Cumberland County Commissioners and Cumberland Valley Board of School Directors.

The program that resulted from this partnership is designed to operate at less than the cost of a student’s traditional senior year and the cost of the post-secondary training required is a tiny fraction of the cost of four years in college. In addition, some apprenticeships and internships will be paid. Further, many local companies are willing to make a continued investment in their workers education in order to develop their skills to replace a generation of retiring workers.

In the future we would like to offer this opportunity to adult workers who wish to add to their skills or change professions as a means of also off-setting the cost of the program for our high school students.

Get Connected:

CAEDC is currently reaching out to businesses in the industry to become a participating employer by committing to:

  • Creating co-op & internship opportunities with students from CVSD & CPAVTS
  • Interviewing students and/or potential employees if your company has openings
  • Allowing hired employees to complete the three-year apprenticeship program

If you’d like to discuss how to become a participating employer, please reach out the Laura Potthoff, CAEDC Business & Workforce Development Manager at 717-240-7197.

For more information on the program, or if you’re a student interested in enrolling visit www.cvschools.org/equipment. You can also contact Mark Blanchard the Executive Director of Cumberland Valley High School at 717-697-8261.

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