Students train for construction jobs with immersive simulators
Seniors from ACE High School, a construction and engineering charter school in Reno, Nevada, now get to experience heavy machinery operations, via two Caterpillar excavator and loader simulators from the Nevada chapter of the Associated General Contractors.
When using the excavator simulator, students buckle into a large mechanical chair and turn a key to start the equipment. Three screens provide outdoor construction views, and using joysticks, they can shift throttle speed, use a hydraulic lock, adjust the boom or open the excavator bucket. Students feel the vibrations of dirt being moved, hitting an object, or any collisions that may happen. Virtual reality goggles also help with depth perception with equipment.
The 20-hour training program also includes industry employment interviews, a mini-job fair and networking, and job offers. Students learn about safety and startup procedures, machine-specific differences, production measurements, slope and grade, different soil types, plan reading with civil engineers, and more. They also become OSHA 10-certified.
Students also participate in an information session with members from Nevada AGC and local construction firm executives.
“By investing in the heavy equipment simulators, our industry members can proactively determine students’ aptitude, interest and commitment,” says Craig A. Madole, Nevada ACG’s CEO. “It saves members money by also not needing to take a machine out of service for training purposes.”
Nevada AGC member firms pay their own employees to volunteer their time as simulator instructors.
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