Bowling Green, KY., August 9, 2022 – Today a press conference was held announcing the kick-off of a brand-new program in Warren County that will train and certify local residents interested in heavy equipment operation as a career. This new program is a collaboration among the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, Bowling Green Independent School District, Holland’s Excavating, Scott, and Murphy, Inc., Scott & Ritter, Inc., Scotty’s Contracting & Stone, Stewart-Richey Construction, South Central Workforce Development Board, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, Warren County Area Technology Center, Warren County Public Schools, and WKU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The South Central Workforce Development Board partnered and assisted with the initiative on several fronts including working closely with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet to secure a $392K grant for the purchase of four Heavy Equipment Simulators. “Each year Department of Labor funding is set aside for innovative workforce development projects such as this. I am very thankful that Governor Beshear and Team Kentucky agreed with our vision and allocated funding for the simulators,” said Jon Sowards, President/CEO of the South Central Workforce Development Board.
In addition to pursuing grant funding, Matt Bacon (who served as the Workforce Board’s staff lead for the Heavy Equipment project) worked vigorously behind the scenes to research simulators, survey students, build consensus, and order textbooks. He even rented a box truck to personally pick up and deliver the four simulators from Peoria, Illinois to the Warren County Area Technology Center.
"The Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) district is proud to be a partner with the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, South Central Workforce Development Board and SKYCTC to bring heavy equipment programming to our Area Technology Center. Our district is excited to collaborate to provide high quality instruction in a program where students are engaged in hands-on learning using heavy equipment simulators and industry standard equipment donated by Scotty’s Contracting and Stone, Murphy Construction Group, Holland Excavating, and Boyd CAT. Our goal is to train the next generation of heavy equipment operators and prepare them with the skill sets to be successful in the workforce while helping our community respond to the increased demand for heavy equipment operators," stated Superintendent Rob Clayton, Warren County Public Schools.
"SKYCTC is proud to be a part of this community-wide collaboration that brings specialized training to our high school seniors in a high-demand/high-wage career of heavy equipment operation. Creating a pipeline of skilled operators who will be hired directly after high school graduation will provide local contractors with a steady volume of new employees. This effort shows the power of how public-private partnerships can quickly and effectively meet local talent needs and create bright futures for our young adults," said Dr. Phil Neal, President/CEO Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.
“Creating a training program to meet the growing need for heavy equipment operators is yet another tangible step that our community leaders have taken to help close the gap in the talent pipeline,” said Ron Bunch, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO. “Over the next ten years we anticipate a strong demand for jobs in the construction sector. This program will ensure that companies have trained and certified workers ready to fill those positions as a start to a great career.”
Heavy equipment training programs are available for both adults and high school students. Adults can contact SKYCTC Workforce Solutions at 270-901-4337 for information. High school students can contact the Warren County Area Technology Center at 270-746-7205.