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JVS receives $50K grant to jumpstart new program

BLOOMINGDALE — The Jefferson County Joint Vocational School has received a $50,000 grant to outfit its new heavy equipment operator’s program.

The windfall through the Charles M. and Thelma M. Pugliese Charitable Foundation will help acquire a Vortex Edge Max Earth Moving simulator to train students and give them a realistic view of the job. Supervisor/Assistant Principal Andy Long applied for the funding and said officials received the news in late May.

“The Vortex Max Edge Simulator provides real-world feedback through its chair, joysticks, pedals, steering wheel and 65-inch screen. The simulator is loaded with an earth-moving pack that includes software for an excavator, wheel loader, backhoe, motor grader, dozer and articulated dump truck,” Long continued. “We are excited to be able to provide this opportunity for the students of Jefferson County.”

The machine is manufactured by CM Labs Simulations Inc. but was purchased through Buckeye Educational Systems. He said the simulator should be on-site and fully operational when students return to school in August. School leaders have also purchased a Takeuchi mini-track loader and mini-excavator through Columbus Equipment Co. and also own a dump truck which will be used for the program. Sixteen students are currently enrolled in the new program and Long hopes it will only grow in the future.

“It will prepare students for success in the workforce while helping to fill the 46,000 projected heavy equipment operators’ job openings in Ohio from now until 2030,” Long said. “These simulators will provide much-needed seat time to develop safe and accurate operational habits in a controlled environment, as well as lowering the risk of damage to equipment and potential injury. The realistic feedback from state-of-the-art simulators can help bridge the gap between classroom theory and large equipment operations. The achievement potential with these simulators will allow workforce agencies to hire qualified employees.”

Long said there are further plans to seek funding for all of the school’s programs.

“We will be applying for other available grants in order to continuously improve our career technical programs and provide high-quality learning environments for our students,” he said.

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