Operating Engineers Local 701 in Gladstone, Oregon, has begun using a video simulator to recruit apprentices in Oregon and Southwest Washington. According to an article in DJC Oregon, the simulator “realistically portray[s] jobsite activities” including tower crane and bulldozer operations.
The simulator offers the opportunity to put potential recruits and apprentices through low-stakes training, where errors don’t cost money or lives, the article reports. For contractors, this offers a chance to hire better prepared operators.
“It’s an exciting time,” James “Jimbo” Anderson, Local 701’s business manager and financial secretary, told DJC Oregon. “Everybody’s talking about an aging workforce, right? We have to invest in our apprentices.”
In addition to high schools, union representatives have visited middle schools to start the recruitment process early. According to the article, the team even recruits adult apprentices “in their 40s.” Even “recent high school graduates, single moms, and parents” have signed up after hearing about Local 701 apprenticeships through their children at school.
With the simulator, manufactured by CM Labs, operators move equipment while maneuvering through simulated rain, wind, and snow. The unit also offers audio feedback, and the chair shakes if the crane operator hits a building.
Source: DJC Oregon