Caterpillar Excellence Fund Monies Awarded to Penn College
Pennsylvania College of Technology has received $100,000 through the Caterpillar Excellence Fund, a partnership among the Caterpillar Foundation, participating dealers and schools.
There are only three other regional partnerships in the country that were funded at that maximum amount. The Caterpillar Foundation contributed $50,000 and three dealers collectively matched the amount. The participating dealers are Cleveland Brothers Equipment Co. Inc., with company headquarters in Harrisburg; Giles & Ransome, based in Bensalem, and Alban Tractor Co. Inc., headquartered in Sterling, Va.
The Penn College initiative will be targeted over the five-state area covered by the Caterpillar dealers: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey. The primary objective of the Caterpillar Excellence Fund is to increase the pool of qualified service technicians to meet foreseeable product support needs. Additionally, the monies will benefit students, faculty and equipment acquisitions in Penn College's heavy construction equipment and diesel technology programs.
"This partnership enables us to provide up-to-date training by establishing an information conduit directly from the manufacturer," explained Colin W. Williamson, dean for Penn College's School of Transportation Technology. "The partnership has three components to it. First, funds are provided to recruit and entice the best possible students and retain them through scholarships. Second, we will be able to demonstrate the latest technology through CAT information systems, equipment donations and the leasing of current equipment. The equipment has become very expensive and without aid from companies such as CAT, it would be impossible to stay abreast of the latest changes. Third, funds are available for faculty to attend CAT training so we can apply it in our classrooms and labs."
Penn College and the Caterpillar dealers are working together to create a new associate degree offering in heavy construction equipment technology/CAT emphasis. The program will parallel the current heavy construction equipment technology program in terms of facilities, instructors, and fundamental competencies; the difference will be in terms of required work experience at a sponsoring CAT dealership.
Additionally, the CAT-sponsored students will be exposed to CAT products when performing lab projects, as well as new courses in electronic control systems to include engine management systems and diagnostic procedures.
"With the emergence of advanced electronics and the sophisticated hydraulic systems currently used on Caterpillar equipment, I'm relieved to know that technical training programs, such as the ones offered at Penn College are geared toward Caterpillar products and will provide their students with the basic skills needed to understand and troubleshoot these systems," commented Tim Dilorio, a training instructor for Giles & Ransome. Penn College previously received Caterpillar Dealer Excellence Funds from Caterpillar Inc. and Cleveland Brothers Equipment Co. Inc. For two consecutive years, that agreement awarded $50,000 to the College's heavy construction equipment and diesel technology programming.
Penn College's heavy construction equipment and diesel technology majors are based at the College's Schneebeli Earth Science Center, located south of Williamsport near Allenwood. The majors have an active advisory board of industry professionals, as well as an active student club that participates in and hosts a variety of contests aimed at building students' skills and excitement for the career field.