Editors’ Blog

Heavy equipment competition targets next generation

By |  May 24, 2017
Nine students from across Pennsylvania participated in SkillsUSA's Pennsylvania Heavy Equipment Operator competition. Photo courtesy of Volvo Construction Equipment.

Nine high school students from across Pennsylvania
participated in SkillsUSA’s Pennsylvania State Heavy
Equipment Competition. Photo courtesy of Volvo
Construction Equipment.

Volvo Construction Equipment sponsored a heavy equipment competition this spring along with a dealer (Highway Equipment and Supply) and a customer (Allan Myers) to encourage students to pursue skilled professions in manufacturing.

The companies were partners in SkillsUSA’s Pennsylvania State Heavy Equipment Competition. SkillsUSA is a national career and technical training organization that serves as a partnership of students and teachers working together to ensure the United States continues to have skilled laborers.

Volvo, Highway Equipment and Supply, and Allan Myers teamed with other local equipment manufacturers and dealers for the competition, which tested top technical students across Pennsylvania on their skills in nine categories.

“Competitions like this not only help students get excited about a future in our industry but also help bridge the current skills gap,” says Chuck Wood, vice president of human resource management and administration at Volvo.

An estimated 600,000 manufacturing jobs went unfilled in 2011 in the United States, Wood says. That number could grow to more than 2 million in a matter of 10 years, according to a report from the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte.

“That’s a large gap,” Wood says. “As a company, we are working hard to do our part to shrink that gap.”

Nine high school students participated in the Pennsylvania-based heavy equipment competition. Each participant was required to complete tasks ranging from identifying components and controls, inspecting machines, writing service summaries and operating virtual bulldozers and excavators, according to Volvo. MacKenzie Stine, a student at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, scored gold at the event.

“I was raised on a farm and have always worked around equipment since childhood,” Stine says. “I think my strongest contest area was digging the trench with a backhoe. I plan to get a job as an excavator operator after graduation.”

Representatives from Volvo, Highway Equipment and Supply, and Allan Myers served as judges and donated equipment for the competition.

“There is a high demand for talented equipment operators in the mid-Atlantic region, and the demand will continue to grow at an alarming pace over the next 10 years,” says Nathan Brenneman, senior human resource manager at Allan Myers. “We are proud to support the next generation of skilled craft professionals because they will be a vital part of supporting the growth of Allan Myers and the construction industry.”

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