St. John Valley

Dump truck donation ups learning at tech center

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — Learning a trade while still in high school is an opportunity that not every high school student is afforded.

But for students attending the Valley Unified school administrative units of SAD 27, SAD 33 and Madawaska School Department, that opportunity exists thanks to the St. John Valley Technology Center.

The tech center just improved upon its Heavy Equipment Construction Operation program with a Sterling 8500 dump truck donated by Daigle and Houghton of Fort Kent. 

“Anytime we can provide learning opportunities for our student population surrounding the trades we are all better for it,” said Kevin Lavoie, tech center director. “We are providing sustainable job skills that parlay into high wage / high demand employment opportunities. It’s a win-win proposition for all stakeholders.”

“Anything to do with vocational trades and learning we’re all for,” added Ryan Malmborg, sales executive at Daigle and Houghton. “We’re looking to see people get into the industry and grow the industry. We support the program fully.” 

The dump truck is the newest addition to the heavy equipment program which Lavoie implemented during the 2020-2021 school year. 

The St. John Valley Tech Center acquired three simulators, a Caterpillar Excavator Simulator for construction and John Deere loader and processor for forestry through grants Lavoie successfully applied for.

The St. John Valley Technology Center is the only career and technical education program in Maine to have John Deere and CAT simulators, according to Lavoie.

Students who participate in the heavy equipment operations program develop hands-on experience by working on real life construction projects including at Four Seasons Park in Madawaska and a soon to open hair salon in Frenchville. The students also recently visited the future site of the Madawaska-Edmundston international bridge to learn about the building process.

Through the program, students have the opportunity to pursue an ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) at the Silver level. 

Other programs offered to students at the St. John Valley Technology Center for which certifications for post high-school employment are available include automotive technologies, early childhood occupations, health occupations and welding.  

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — June 22, 2021 —  Students at the St. John Valley Technology Center will learn to operate a dump truck the learning facility acquired through collaboration with Daigle and Houghton. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

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