Heavy Equipment Colleges of America (HEC) has purchased two Manitowoc MLC100-1 crawler cranes from H&E Equipment Services for its Stonecrest, Georgia, and Oklahoma City locations.
It’s part of the school’s strategy to have its students train on modern cranes that feature the most cutting-edge technology. It’s a timely move—with the introduction of a new infrastructure bill, Georgetown University estimates that 1,624,000 jobs could be created in construction alone. New operators can be trained at HEC in six weeks and 83 percent of them are successfully placed in jobs.
HEC is the only Department of Education-accredited school for crane operation.
“The total focus of our business is addressing the skills gap in blue-collar training and placing people in jobs,” said Bob Albano, president and CEO of HEC. “That means having new equipment to train on that will help students gain the best experience. The MLC100-1 units are sophisticated and natural for learning on. We have an instructor with 20 years of experience that says these units are much easier to teach on because they can customize and fine tune the operations to enable students to get used to operating them.”
The MLC100-1 is a 110-ton lattice-boom crawler crane and has 200 feet of main boom. It features self-assembly capabilities and button-style wire rope terminations for quick and easy assembly. A new wide body cab and improved accessibility have increased comfort and ease of maintenance over previous generation crawler cranes.
Some 60 percent of HEC’s students are veterans and a majority of the remaining students are millennials and younger. Albano says that operating Manitowoc’s CCS Crane Control System can be similar to operating the military equipment or playing the video games many of them grew up with. Many workers shy away from blue-collar jobs because they think they are dirty or dangerous, which is not an accurate portrait of this industry in 2021.
“The inside of a Manitowoc MLC100-1 cab is like being in a cockpit. It isn’t pulling levers and pulleys like when I started out,” Albano said. “The CCS utilizes computers screens and joysticks. All of our students are in a transitional phase of their lives, and we know that many of them are at home. They are highly connected people and it’s very likely that they are engaged with technology.”