Forty high school students from Warren County High School in Warrenton, N.C., took a 20-hour bus ride to Hastings, Minn., to learn about job prospects in the construction industry and how to operate Komatsu equipment. This unusual field trip is the result of a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation Fund.
“We are so pleased to have been granted these NCDOT Funds to educate our students about transportation and heavy equipment career opportunities that can bridge the gap between skills and the lack of trained workers in the construction industry,” said Odessa Perry, career development coordinator at Warren County Schools.
The group of students (16 girls and 24 boys) learned how to operate select Komatsu machines, including wheel loaders, hydraulic excavators and crawler dozers at Extreme Sandbox. An adventure attraction that focuses on “edutainment,” Extreme Sandbox gives the public — and in this case, students — the chance to see what it’s like to operate heavy equipment in a 10-acre “sandbox.” The students received training and supervision from highly trained expert instructors, and learned more about the variety of job prospects in the construction industry.
“We are thrilled that the students from Warren County High School made the trip to learn how to operate our machines,” said Mike Hayes, director, distributor development, for Komatsu America Corp. “One of our goals in partnering with Extreme Sandbox was to inspire a new generation of men and women who are good with their hands to consider careers in the construction industry. It provides great employment opportunities and experienced heavy equipment operators and technicians can make six-figure incomes,” Hayes said.
Last year, Komatsu partnered with Extreme Sandbox to be the exclusive provider of heavy machinery. Extreme Sandbox’s national expansion plans and proven track record of creating memorable experiences, combined with Komatsu America’s world-class machines, national reach and global resources, has introduced a new generation to heavy machinery and an often-under-explored area for rewarding careers.