For students in Minnesota that are interested in learning how to operate heavy equipment, a new opportunity is now available. The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 49 and Minnesota Virtual Academy have partnered together to offer online elective courses that are designed to introduce students into the industry.

The courses are available to any high school student enrolled in school in Minnesota and can be used towards high school elective classes or college credit as well. This course will help prepare students who are interested in the Local 49 Apprenticeship Program. 

Jason George, the business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 said to WDIO "The modules are focused on exposing kids to equipment, being around equipment, what the equipment is like, how to take care of the equipment, so they know a little bit about what it's like to be an operating engineer in the industry. It kind of gets their feet wet and gives them information about the career."

This is a great opportunity for young men and women to get a glimpse into this exciting industry, and for schools that are doing distance learning the online classes can be taken at anytime and are free.

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This program offers courses that give students an overview of skills they will need to be in the construction industry. Students can also receive college credit through North Hennepin Community College that are good to transfer to any MN State School. On top of the online courses students will have the chance to visit the IUOE Local 49 Training Center in Hinckley, where they can get hands on experience with heavy equipment simulators and also visit with workers already in the industry.

I know that I for one have become fascinated with the operators of all the heavy equipment they are using to tear up superior street. From a giant excavator to a dump truck their skills are mind blowing. These types of jobs will always be in demand and this is a great opportunity to give these young adults a taste of what's ahead in this industry.

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