Miles Community College looks to improve CDL program

  In response to the need for truck drivers and heavy equipment operators in the wake of the energy boom in the region, Miles Community College is working toward becoming a leader in Workforce Development.

At a recently monthly meeting of the MCC Board of Trustees, the board voted in favor of three separate items, essentially turning the Commercial Drivers License course into a four-week, four-credit class. Also on the horizon will be the purchase of a CDL simulator, which would make MCC the only college in eastern Montana with that technology. The Heavy Equipment/CDL program is headed by Jerry Forman.
"I was really excited to see how our academic side was able to come together and put this course into a four-credit format," said MCC President Stacy Klippenstein. "Our ability, once the grant money comes in, to move forward and get the simulators all set up is a good move for MCC."
MCC is now waiting for a grant from the Department of Labor to receive final approval to move forward. The grant will give the school $482,000, with up to $148,000 earmarked for the CDL simulator. Bids for the simulator are currently being sent out.
"Once we are confirmed the money is with us, the next step would be purchasing the equipment and fitting it into the curriculum Jerry Forman has set up," Klippenstein said.
From a marketing standpoint, MCC has already seen interest from all over Montana and neighboring states because of the simulator, and Klippenstein hopes to continue to tap into those areas.
"We will begin to heavily market this program we have for the CDL," he said. "MCC has done a lot of work on this the past six to eight months to rework the CDL course into something that makes sense for us."
Now students taking the CDL course can apply it to the credit requirements for the one-year Heavy Equipment certificate.
Dale Marcil has been hired as the new Heavy Equipment/CDL Instructor funded by the SWAMMEI grant. His date of hire was March 3.  

Published March 5, 2014

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