Winnfield, La., Oct. 15, 2020 — Thanks to a grant from The Rapides Foundation, Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) students in the Forestry Technology Program can now learn the basics of operating a bulldozer on a state-of-the-art simulator.
The bulldozer simulator is the third heavy equipment simulator in the program, joining simulators for an FM Log Loader and one for a Track Buncher/Feller.
“A bulldozer is a basic piece of equipment used in logging,” explained Forest Technology Instructor Jordan Franks. “Our Advisory Board and our industrial partners feel it is important for our students to have a working knowledge of bulldozer equipment. They are used to do Best Management Practice (BMP) work, maintain roads and manage water runoff. They are a must-have item on site.”
Franks said the new simulator allows students to get a basic understanding of operation, maintenance and safety. “This gives our students the ability to get familiar with the controls and operation and train safely in a controlled environment to develop a basic understanding of operation without worrying about damaging the machine or hurting themselves.”
The machine uses virtual reality, Franks said, noting it has three screens simulating the front, back and side views as well as a helmet students wear for training exercises. The simulator trains students on all basic tasks for operating the equipment, from initial safety checks to proper use and then shutdown procedures.
“We are very fortunate to have the support to purchase a machine of this quality to give our students the best possible training,” said Huey P. Long Campus Dean and CLTCC Director of Adult Education Jeff Johnson.
In addition to forestry needs, Franks said the simulator gives the CLTCC Forestry Technology students a leg up if they chose to move into a construction career. “It definitely gives our students a leg up with construction,” Franks said. “There are not a lot of people with this kind of experience.”
“CLTCC is thankful for The Rapides Foundation and its support of our advanced manufacturing programs. These simulators immediately impact our current forest technology students while also affording business and industry partners opportunities to grow their incumbent workforce via targeted skill and customized training courses,” said Vice Chancellor of Workforce Solutions Misty Slayter.
Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) is a two-year technical and community college offering associate degrees, technical diplomas, industry certificates, and customized training in more than 20 disciplines to support local workforce development and prepare students for high-demand and high-wage careers. CLTCC serves 10 parishes in Central Louisiana through its eight campuses and provides instruction in one state prison and one federal correctional institution. For more information, visit http://www.cltcc.edu.