You don’t have to travel far to understand the critical role skilled trades play in our infrastructure. From heavy equipment to commercial trucks, these operators help move goods and build and maintain our roads, bridges and tunnels. At Camp Community College, there are several of these training programs available, but one that isn’t that common is the crane operator program.
Launched last year, the crane operator program at Camp is one of only two crane programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges that helps to fill a growing number of jobs in the construction industry. Students learn how to operate a variety of cranes, and within three weeks, they have an understanding of equipment safety and basic operation techniques and standards.
We spoke to Timothy Bean who completed the training for $0 out-of-pocket thanks to G3 tuition assistance.
Bean first learned about the program through Facebook, where he was served an ad over and over. Well, the ad worked because he called a counselor at Camp to learn more. He had friends who did similar training, but they had to go across the country to complete the program. He just had to drive down the road to take three weeks of classes led by a veteran of the field.
“The teacher had 40 years of crane experience, and he taught in laymen’s terms, where I could understand it,” Bean said. “We studied thoroughly, asked questions, he took us to the job site. He was patient with us.”
Learning from local instructors pays off, not just with learning the material and passing the certification exams, but for networking and landing a job post-training.
“The classroom instructor was instrumental in giving me options for a career,” Bean added. “My instructor gave me the leads with Local 147 – he had been in the business so long, he was letting us know if he heard anything. We were looking for him as a resource.”
Before the crane operator program, Bean was working two jobs. He was running a box truck and was a bus driver for the local transit authority. Now, he’s employed full-time, Monday through Friday with overtime opportunities. At 42 years young, Bean wants the next generation to realize the potential in the trades.
“Definitely take the opportunity to learn your local trades,” he said. “I can’t express how much it will mean to get the trades under the belt. I get paid $36/hr. Those young guys can start out with that, they should take advantage.”