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HOLT CAT, Dubiski Target Skills Gap

HOLT CAT knows about the skilled trades gap and has formed an innovative partnership to do something about it.

Wed December 24, 2014 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

HOLT CAT, the Caterpillar Equipment and Engine dealer of south, central, north and north east Texas, knows about the skilled trades gap, and has formed an innovative partnership with John A. Dubiski High School in Grand Prairie to do something about it. The program has been so successful that the Dallas Regional Chamber awarded HOLT with the Blueprint Education Catalyst Award on Nov. 6.

HOLT CAT depends upon highly skilled technicians who are in short supply across the nation. In addition to the usual approaches of attracting talent via great work environments, the company developed an internship program at Dubiski that helps young people develop into experienced heavy equipment technicians. It’s one way the company is helping manage the skilled trades gap that affects all industries.

“We have a vested interest in the workforce of today as well as tomorrow, and the internship program with Dubiski provides mutual benefits to the company and to the students who can get paid for learning advanced technical skills,” said Allyn Archer, president and chief operating officer of HOLT CAT. “We are honored at the recognition this program has received, and most importantly, it’s validation of the value that skilled trades programs can offer to students in high school.”

HOLT CAT recently pledged $1 million to vocational education and training in Texas over the next three years.

Dubiski and HOLT created a unique internship program in 2012 to offer junior and senior students paid internships and world-class training by pairing them with seasoned technicians in the repair and maintenance of heavy equipment and engines, including hydraulics, electronics and diesel engines. The interns graduate from Dubiski with the basic skills in the heavy equipment industry required to join the workforce as entry-level technicians. Since 2012, HOLT has invested more than $225,000 into the internship program and skills building with Dubiski students, and more than 80 percent of the internship participants have been offered full-time positions with HOLT.

“The partnership we have formed with HOLT has allowed our students to graduate with the necessary skills to gain a high school degree and have the opportunity to live out the American dream,” said Rick Elmore, Dubiski School of Transportation program facilitator. “Former interns who are now HOLT technician number one’s have been able to step up in their family and take a financial leadership role because of this partnership. Outside of this program and school, I don’t know many 18-year-old men and women who are able to do that.”

HOLT is committed to vocational and technical education in north Texas. The company annually awards financial support to other area high schools and colleges through the Caterpillar Dealer Excellence Fund. Participating schools besides Dubiski include Skyline High School in Dallas, Cedar Valley College in Lancaster and Birdville High School in North Richland Hills.

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