(L-R) are Jennie Best, assistant director of scholarships; Ann Bolman, WDTC president; Gannon Pudwill, scholarship recipient; Matt Williams, scholarship recipient; and Justin Sanchez, Cat MineStar training manager.
Caterpillar Inc. recently awarded two full scholarships to students entering the Electrical Trades — Autonomous Equipment Technician (AET) program recently developed in collaboration with Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC), Rapid City, S.D. At a signing event held at the college on Jan. 25, 2022, Gannon Pudwill and Matt Williams were the first two scholarship recipients for the nine-month, two-semester certificate program for the spring. Caterpillar will offer an additional four full scholarships for students entering the AET program in the fall.
The first of its kind, the new AET certificate program at WDTC provides in-depth instruction for the skills required to install, commission and maintain electrical and mechanical systems relating to autonomous mining technology. With its overview of general mining practices, the program bridges the gap between basic mechanical systems and advanced IT systems.
Principles of electricity, networking, welding and mechanical skills learned during the course provide a foundation for the support of Caterpillar mining technology products and various autonomous systems. Upon completing the AET program, graduates leave with 24 to 30 college credit hours and the skills to support technology offerings that range from machine health and fleet management software to fully autonomous mining operations.
Presenting the scholarships was Justin Sanchez, global training manager of Cat MineStar Solutions.
"Caterpillar is excited to offer a total of six full-ride Autonomous Equipment Technician scholarships in 2022 to kick off this new program," said Sanchez. "It greatly benefits students with interests in pursuing mining technology careers. With students learning about Caterpillar's technologies for autonomy, this program helps to build a pipeline of new individuals to the mining field that will benefit Caterpillar, Cat dealers and mine sites in general.
"We would like to thank Caterpillar for coming to Western Dakota Technical College with the program idea and for the hard work in putting together the scholarships," said Ann Bolman, WDTC president. "It's an innovative idea, and we are so appreciative of the company's support. It's a great opportunity for our students."
Scholarship applications are now being accepted for the second, fall-2022 AET program. Enrollment for WDTC's fall courses starts in March 2022. Students can apply for the scholarship online at WDTC's website or call the Scholarship office at 605/719-3064.
For more information, visit wdt.edu/aet.
Cat MineStar offers a broad suite of integrated mine operations and mobile equipment management technologies for the mining industry. These solutions integrate products, processes and people to meet the mine site's goals during the production stages of mining.
For more information, visit cat.com/mining.
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