Central Arizona College thanks Vulcan Materials Co. for equipment donation

Central Arizona College students join Nancy Quinn (Vulcan), Jeff May (Vulcan), professor Louis Teel, CAC President Jackie Elliott, Chase Kassel and Willie Higgins for a photo in front of the Caterpillar 988 Wheel Loader donated by Vulcan to CAC. (CAC)

Central Arizona College recognized Vulcan Materials Co. for its recent donation of a Caterpillar 325 Hydraulic Excavator and a Caterpillar 988 Wheel Loader during a special dedication ceremony.

The equipment, valued at more than $135,000, will be used by students in CAC’s Diesel Technology and Heavy Equipment Operator programs. While students in the heavy equipment operator program will gain hands-on experience and seat time using industry specific equipment, the diesel technology students will learn about the maintenance features.

“We are excited to partner with Central Arizona College on this equipment donation. Providing the students with access to and hands-on experience with an excavator and loader will better prepare them for careers in the aggregates and construction industries, among others,” Jeff May, division president for the Vulcan Mountain West Division, said.

“Career and technical education programs like the CAC Diesel Technology and Heavy Equipment Operator programs are crucial to fill the backlog of jobs today and prepare the workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Dr. Jackie Elliott, CAC president, thanked Vulcan for the donation and explained, “Partnerships like this one with Vulcan and those that we have with Landscapes Unlimited and Sundt Construction, along with others throughout the college, allow us as a College to help train students to fill gaps in the skilled trade shortage that many businesses and industries are facing.”

“By giving students the opportunity to learn on up-to-date equipment, the student learning experience is enhanced and ultimately, companies will realize a better pool of trained operators to choose from when hiring employees.”

Vulcan Materials Co. is a producer of construction aggregates — primarily crushed stone, sand and gravel — and a producer of aggregates-based construction materials, including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete. Vulcan operates in 20 states, Washington, DC, and Mexico, and employs more than 330 employees at dozens of facilities across the state of Arizona.

Nathan Meraz, a heavy equipment operator student, explained how important the equipment is to his education as well as his fellow classmates’ education.

“This generous donation from Vulcan will help countless students on their path to earning a degree or certificate, which will enable them to be of immediate value in a workforce that so desperately needs them,” Louis Teel, professor of the heavy equipment operator program and lead faculty for the Skilled Trades and Technology Division, said. “Our students leave here with a skill set that is always in demand, as the infrastructure of our country is constantly being built or repaired.”

Sean Ray, director of craft workforce development for Sundt Construction, stressed the importance of partnerships and how vital it is for industry and education to work together to meet the growing demands throughout the state and country.

Willie Higgins, state director for registered apprenticeships for the state of Arizona, and Chase Kassel, legislative liaison with the Office of U. S. Sen. Martha McSally, were also on hand and confirmed the importance of career and technical education programs partnering with business and industry.

Editor’s note: Angela Askey is CAC’s executive director for public relations and marketing.



Angela Askey is from Central Arizona College

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