CAC received a commemorative plaque recognizing the accreditation on Friday, Sept. 7, during a ceremony held at the college’s heavy equipment compound on the Signal Peak Campus.
“Students from our program now will be able to add to their resume that their degree is from a nationally-accredited program,” Louis Teel, professor of heavy equipment operation, stated. “Because NCCER is recognized for its commitment to excellence in our field, we will wear its accreditation with pride. This partnership will ensure that Central Arizona College isn’t just a place to get an HEO degree; it’s the place to get an HEO degree.”
In addition to celebrating the accreditation, Quentin Almgren of the Henry Brown Automotive Group presented a check to the program for $2,000 for the creation of an HEO student scholarship.
NCCER was developed with the support of more than 125 construction CEOs and various association and academic leaders who united to revolutionize training for the construction industry. Sharing the common goal of developing a safe and productive workforce, these companies created a standardized training and credentialing program for the industry.
Presently, the organization develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allow organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires.
Students now will receive an NCCER card where each module, activity and certification they receive at CAC will be recorded.
“Anywhere in the world our students go, their training will be recognized,” James Busch, also a professor of HEO at CAC, said. “This accreditation will catapult our students above anybody else waiting in line for the same job.”
Gary Townsley of the Arizona Builder’s Alliance and the NCCER presented Teel and Busch with the accreditation plaque. According to Townsley, CAC now is one of only 50 programs nationwide to receive the distinction.
“This is a milestone that needs to be celebrated,” Dr. Doris Helmich, CAC’s interim president, said. “This program grounds our curriculum when we talk about creating jobs for students in Pinal County.”
CAC’s heavy equipment operator program is a hands-on curriculum where students operate motor graders, scrapers, front-end loaders, bulldozers, water trucks, dump trucks, belly dump trucks, backhoes, excavators and other specialized equipment. The equipment in the program’s fleet gives the student a feel for up-to-date equipment and for older equipment still used in the industry.
Heavy equipment operators can utilize their skills in a number of industries, including cities, counties, state highway departments, logging, construction and mining. CAC’s program currently offers an associate of applied science degree (A.A.S.) and a certificate.