A snowplow donation from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to Riverland Community College’s truck driving program is expected to aid students and the state’s transportation agency.
Officials from MnDOT joined leaders of Riverland on the Austin campus Thursday afternoon in a ceremonial exchange of the keys for a snowplow. MnDOT was replacing the vehicle in its fleet and donated it to the Riverland truck driving program.
The snowplow equipment adds depth to a strong Riverland program that offers hands-on and classroom training for careers in the transportation industry. The equipment gives the students in the program additional exposure to equipment used in the field and provides them a greater range of experiences prior to seeking employment.
MnDOT, in turn, will work with Riverland to help students learn about careers at MnDOT, as it continues to build a strong and diverse talent pool of employees.
“We see this as an opportunity for both of our organizations to benefit,” said Jeff Vlaminck, district engineer for MnDOT District 6 in southeast Minnesota.
“One of Riverland’s key strategies has been to build strong partnerships with businesses, industries and agencies that employ our students,” said Adenuga Atewologun, Riverland college president. “We shape our training around the needs in our state and region. This donation and partnership is a prime example of two organizations working together to provide best in class training and better employment for students that graduate from our program.”
The 2000 snowplow was being replaced in MnDOT’s fleet as part of the normal replacement cycle. The manual transmission vehicle provides the truck driving students with a machine that’s still in good working order. MnDOT puts some of its snowplows on the state auction or works with other governmental bodies, such as townships that are seeking for a transaction that can benefit it.
Riverland has offered a truck driving program on its Austin Campus for 30 years. Commercial truck drivers in high demand throughout Minnesota. Long distance truck drivers make an average $30,000 - $39,000 salary in their first year and more than $40,000 the second year, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Riverland’s 16-week training program starts in August or March each year.