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Laying the Foundation for a Career in the Skilled Trades and Construction Industry

Heavy equipment operators (HEO) and construction workers have long been sought after throughout Virginia and the rest of the country. But currently, with more people consuming more resources and urban and suburban areas becoming ever denser, skilled tradespeople are essential to keep pace with modern demand. This demand is why HEO and other trades training is part of FastForward at your local community college.

A Wide Web of Options

Because there are so many roles and responsibilities on a build site or even within general contracting, finding a niche can be easy if you understand your abilities and have clear goals. This breadth also allows you to move up through the ranks or change jobs within the industry in a rather seamless fashion.

Build Your Future Virginia, a collaboration between multiple construction associations and educators, defines a construction laborer as an entry-level worker who is often trained on site. You can start there, but you could also take FastForward courses to earn your HEO certification.

Cutting-Edge Training

A great thing about being a student at one of Virginia’s Community Colleges is that you can take advantage of excellent facilities to get hands-on training. The Fredericksburg Center for Advanced Technology (FredCAT) operated by Germanna is one notable example of a center that offers virtual and in-depth training for FastForward students.

FredCAT has a number of realistic simulators to give HEO students the ability to pilot backhoe loaders and other construction equipment with all of the rewards and none of the risks. Here’s a student testimonial, shot inside of the FredCAT building:

Why skilled trades?

Regardless of where you land in the skilled trades and construction industry, you are sure to enjoy a high level of job security and a chance to work with talented, interesting people. Organizations like VA Ready and Build Your Future Virginia have a wealth of information for aspiring tradespeople.

Of course, you can always contact a career coach at your local community college for further guidance and answers to your burning questions. Use the form at the bottom of this page to get connected.