Excavator Simulator Provides Hands-On Training For Students

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Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC SEPA) and American Infrastructure recently gave some 31 students from Norristown and Plymouth Whitemarsh High Schools the opportunity to operate a fully functional simulation of a John Deere Excavator at the ABC SEPA headquarters in East Norriton, PA. The interactive event is part of the Chapter’s commitment to the ACE (Architects Contractors and Engineers) Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania, a program giving high school students an opportunity to learn more about potential careers in architecture, engineering and construction.
  As Pennsylvania’s first group focused on the needs of suburban students, the team of students and mentors meet bi-monthly at the ABC SEPA Chapter headquarters.  The group works together on a project that addresses “real-life” situations and issues. The students begin with real blueprints of the project. They are taught how to read them, manage the project, create a timetable for completion and even how to budget for supplies. The project will culminate in a formal presentation for industry professionals given by each student in Philadelphia on May 13.
  “This is a great opportunity to talk to students about career options in the construction industry,” said Bob Capps, vice president of Business Development at ABC and the suburban ACE Team Lead. “This simulator will give the students a real feeling of what it is like to be behind the wheel of a large piece of equipment. It will keep track of their safety performance and determine their effectiveness as an operator.”
  Designed by John Deere, the Excavator Simulator is one of a kind in the nation. It was built by American Infrastructure as a way to measure operator and GPS training and evaluate operator competencies. The simulator is 12 feet long by 7 feet wide and is mounted on a twin axel trailer with a 42-inch high definition flat screen monitor. The simulator includes real joystick and pedal controls to give the students a hands-on feel of operating a large piece of equipment.