by Abbigail Owens | Oct 5, 2023 Updated Oct 6, 2023
PRINEVILLE, OR –
Twenty-five students and their instructors were out on Friday to finish their final tests with the machines.
They were driving CAT excavators, dozers, loaders and more around a gravel pit, moving dirt and really mastering the operations of the heavy equipment.
Baker Technical Institute (BTI) recently celebrated the completion of its third Heavy Equipment Operator Training.
On Sept. 28, BTI students and instructors finished their five-week course in Prineville. The students learned from simulators for two weeks then finished up with time on the machines.
Following a day in the field was a small graduation ceremony at the fairgrounds, where they received certificates showing that they passed the course.
“I think the program is spectacular. I think it’s great for people who want to get into this field. You get the basics on how the machines operate, especially with the simulator, which is super cool,” said student Rocky Christopher. “Not everyone is a gamer, but this gives you an opportunity to be like maybe video games are kind of cool, a little bit. With the way they are set up, the simulators are much like the machines when it comes to operating. I think the program is good for particular people who really want to progress because it is tough to get into this field. A lot of times you have to know somebody.”
According to Christopher, the only thing that wasn’t the greatest was the length of time on the simulators. He added that two weeks on the simulators, pass or fail, was a bit long, especially with the glitches in the system causing them to have to retake things even when they got it right.