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New Bulldozer Paving Path to First Coast Careers for FPC, Matanzas

New Bulldozer Paving Path to First Coast Careers for FPC, Matanzas

Flagler Schools commitment to putting education to work took another big step as a brand new bulldozer arrived this week to help pave the way to careers in the First Coast and beyond.


Students and faculty from the Heavy Equipment Operations Technician (HEOT) program at Flagler Technical College (FTC)  were on hand at the Florida Agricultural Museum, the site of their off-campus facility. Students from Flagler Palm Coast (FPC) and Matanzas High Schools enrolled through Programs of Choice, as well as adult students enrolled in the program, are now getting their first real world experience with this latest tool in their career training arsenal.


FTC HEOT instructor Ken Rucker, along with FTC Director Renee Kirkland and FTC Coordinator Chris McDermott, joined the class for the new delivery March 4. The program acquired a new wheeled skid steer last year for the students receiving training with various pieces of heavy equipment accessible in the world of construction.


The focus of the HEOT program is to provide hands-on training to future professionals in the heavy equipment construction industry. This Career and Technical Education (CTE) offering has been available to students since the 2018-19 school year.


“The (students) get a certification on operating each of these once they finish the program,” McDermott said. “Ken (Rucker) certifies the classes they go through for each piece of equipment.” Students undergo a minimum of 900 hours of instruction before they can complete the program.


HEOT is one of 76 CTE programs currently offered by Flagler Schools. These programs directly prepare students for high-wage, high-skill and high-demand careers. The latest data shows that nearly 99 percent of Flagler Schools students who take at least one CTE course will earn their high school diploma. Nearly half of our high school and middle school students currently participate in these CTE courses.