NESPELEM—The final week of the second cohort of heavy equipment operators began just east of the Nespelem Corrections Detention this week. The students switched from classroom simulators to the real equipment where instruction is provided on excavators, dozers, front-end loaders and graders.

Their BTI Heavy Equipment Operator training is developed in partnership with industry to ensure they are comprehensive, relevant, and respected by employers. BTI students are taught to operate heavy equipment through a state-of-the-art learning environment combined with the CAT Simulators, hands-on simulated job site training, and using curriculum from Caterpillar and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). 

“We expect to take the top three from the first cohort and combine them with the top three from the current cohort to advance those students to intermediate level coursework,” said John MacClain, TERO Director. “We’ve successfully placed a graduate from the first cohort from TERO job dispatch, so we know this training system has solved training issues that made operator training difficult in the past.”

Students used to be sent to training on the coast away from the reservation—which meant high cost tuition, additional training resources and all hopes were placed on one student’s success rate, he said.

By holding the classes in this way, TERO can send six clients for the price of one and class location is brought home to our reservation.

“We hope to continue this successful training program to other districts so that we can continue to offer meaningful training for good paying jobs,” said MacClain. “There are so many trade options for our membership to succeed, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what can be accomplished.” 

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