Students from Minnesota Virtual Academy try their hands at heavy equipment operating

Students get their hands on heavy equipment on Friday in Hinckley

A look at the Operating Engineers Career Pathway program is helping students get hands on with heavy equipment.

A fun Friday field trip for students in the Minnesota Virtual Academy.

Nearly 80 of them stopped by the Local 49 Training Center in Hinckley. They’ve been taking online classes about heavy equipment. Friday it was time to put some of those skills to the test.

Riley Rosin is from near Mankato. The junior said he grew up on a farm and is used to big machinery. “My dad got me into it,” he said.

Dad is Ryan Rosin, who was one of the first people to go through the training center. “It’s a cool honor for me, as a parent, to get to see my family come through,” he said.

This visit is part of the MNVA’s Operating Engineers Pathway Program.

Mary Morem, head of school for MNVA, said he spoke to one of the trainers. “He said we have some really good operators already. They love the hands-on learning.”

There’s plenty of opportunity out there. This pathway program has been going since 2019, and Friday’s visit was the largest they’ve had.

Jenny Winkelaar, the Director of Workforce and Community Development for IUOE Local 49, added that their business manager said there is going to be more work in the next 10 years than they had in the 1950s, when building an interstate highway system.

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