St. John Valley

St. John Valley Technology Center boasts new simulator equipment

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — The St. John Valley Technology Center rolled out some new programs this year thanks to the acquisition of new state-of-the-art training equipment for forestry and construction. 

The St. John Valley Tech Center acquired three simulators — one for construction and two for forestry — thanks to multiple Perkin’s and Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services, or FEDES II grants.

These simulators made possible the Heavy Equipment Construction Operation program and the Forest Resource Management program, both taught by Mike Berube, who was a heavy equipment operator for his business. 

The construction simulator is a Caterpillar Excavator Simulator that Kevin Lavoie, director at the tech center, said is a true-to-form machine with a rumble seat and a control unit identical to the actual machinery that construction technicians operate in the field.  The CAT was purchased for $49,660. 

For the forestry program, the CTE center was able to procure two state-of-the-art John Deere Forestry Simulators. Lavoie said these are the same simulators that large woods industries use with their operators before they head out into the field. He added that the simulators “give the students high demand type simulation and operation.” Each John Deere simulator cost $35,000 totaling $70,000 for the pair. 

The St. John Valley Technology Center is the only CTE inMaine to have John Deere and CAT simulators, according to Lavoie. Even the state only has one of the forestry simulators. 

“We are very proud to be able to offer CTE programming that will provide our students the ability to engage in a trade that has value in our geographic area and are considered high demand and high wage career pathways,” Lavoie said. 

These programs also benefit business owners in the community, according to Lavoie. 

“The business owners are seeing the effects of our diminishing workforce,” Lavoie said. “It’s so important that this regionalization happens because with all the kids in one location, means the students who have access to [CTE] will grow. They will all be right in the same building and can say that every student is taking [CTE]. Numbers grow and we can offer more programs. We stay as is, we will perish as is.” 

These John Deere simulators were procured as part of a new forestry program at the St. John Valley Technology Center. (Morgan Mitchell | St. John Valley Times)

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.