Embarking on a new effort, The AED Foundation hosted an official accreditation ceremony at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) on April 5 to recognize the hard work that led to accreditation of their diesel-equipment technology program. AED Foundation accreditation for college diesel-equipment technology programs is very rigorous, and schools typically cannot achieve it without industry support. Students, instructors, school administrators, elected officials and local dealers attended the ceremony at Salt Lake Community College’s Meadowbrook Campus.
“The packed house at the SLCC accreditation ceremony shows the teamwork and commitment from educators, local dealers, and The AED Foundation that made this event possible,” said Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO of AED and president of The AED Foundation. “AED Foundation accreditation is very demanding, and I would like to thank SLCC and our local AED dealers for working collaboratively to achieve it.”
SLCC is the primary postsecondary provider of career and technical education in Salt Lake County, Utah. Associate Professor Bill Kleman is eagerly awaiting the opening of their new Westpointe Workforce Training & Education Center, a 121,000-square-foot facility that will allow SLCC to better provide career and technical education programs to meet the future needs of industry partners. Traditional students, workers needing to retool their career paths and employees seeking to improve their skills at work will benefit greatly from the programs and resources offered at the new center. More than 28,000 students at SLCC campuses are enrolled in CTE courses.
“From the opening of our state-of-the-art Westpointe Workforce Training & Education Center to earning AED Foundation accreditation, this is an exciting time for Salt Lake Community College,” said Rick Bouillon, associate V.P. of workforce and economic development at SLCC. “We are committed to making sure our students graduate with the technical skills they need to begin a viable career in a stable industry, and we appreciate the partnership of The AED Foundation and local equipment dealers in collaborating to meet that goal.”
Several local state legislators, including state senators Gene Davis and Luz Escamilla and state representative Sandra Hollins, attended the ceremony. Angela Doan, senior advisor for education to Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski, was in attendance as well.
“SLCC is a great educational and job training institution, offering many resources to ensure students receive the latest skills training,” said Gene Davis, Utah state senate leader. “Recently, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the partnership between The AED Foundation, local construction equipment dealers and the community college. It’s great to see students getting the training needed to use all the latest technology that will help them get a good-paying job.”
“Once open, SLCC’s Westpointe facility will be a tremendous asset to our community,” added Luz Escamilla, Utah state senator–1st District. “To address the skills gap and get students interested in careers with many job openings, like the construction equipment industry, it will take innovative thinking and collaboration between industry, education, policymakers, and nonprofits.”
For local dealers, supporting a local technical college or high school program involves time, resources, and financial commitment. However, the result – having a well-qualified pool of graduating entry-level technicians each year – more than justifies those commitments.
Jeffrey Scott, vice-chairman of The AED Foundation and president of Intermountain Bobcat, said, “It’s refreshing that SLCC is proactively working to address the technician shortage the construction equipment industry is facing and is working with local dealers and The AED Foundation to get results. The technician shortage is not going away, so it’s critical that we continue to work together to address this issue.”
The AED Foundation looks forward to returning to Utah for official recognition ceremonies at Canyons and West Jordan high school districts in the fall as part of its High School Recognition initiative.