SWCTE Outdoor Lab

Student driving an excavator outside

By: Jerry Hays
Heavy Equipment/CDL Instructor at SWCTE Academy

The Heavy Equipment I class wrapped up the semester in the Baranko Bros. Outdoor lab on the SWCTE Campus, putting the skills they learned on the simulators to the test.  The students started out on CAT Simformation full motion-based simulators, where they learned basic safety, the muscle memory to operate the various pieces of equipment and the understanding of how to perform various jobs on the wheel loader, backhoe, excavator, and bulldozer. Once they master the simulators, they move out to the outdoor lab where they operate the equipment by moving dirt piles, loading trailers, digging trenches, or setting grades.  All skills needed to find success in the industry. 

The students taking Heavy Equipment 2 this current semester will be learning about laser levels, 2D and 3D machine control systems, and the use of drones for surveying jobs. The students will work with laser levels in the outdoor lab, whether digging trenches to a specified depth or building a pad to a certain height.  These learning experiences were all made possible by the support of Baranko Bros., Martin Construction, RDO Equipment, and Titan Machinery – Dickinson, ND. Under the guidance of Heavy Equipment Instructor, Jerry Hays, the SWCTE Heavy Equipment program is the first of its kind in North Dakota giving our high school students opportunities to propel them into the local workforce after graduation. 

 The students were operating the following equipment purchased through our local dealer partners.  BOBCAT – S64 skid steer, CASE – SV280B skid steer, CAT – 906 Compact Wheel Loader, DEERE - 50G mid-sized excavator, CASE – CX37C mini excavator