MnDOT, Riverland Community College partner in snowplow donation
AUSTIN, Minn. – 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 department.
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. “MnDOT is proud to be to partner with Riverland, because so much of our culture is about learning, training and improving. This is a strong connection to our mission.”
“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 who graduate from our program.”
The 2000 Sterling 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 on a transaction with other governmental bodies, such as townships that are seeking a snowplow.
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.
Riverland Community College, a member of the Minnesota State system, is a community college that inspires personal success through education. Approximately 9,000 students are served annually through a wide range of credit-based educational opportunities and non-credit courses. Campuses are located in Albert Lea, Austin and Owatonna, Minn. Riverland may be found on the Internet at www.riverland.edu.
Minnesota State, formerly known as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 400,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system in the United States.
MnDOT is the state’s transportation agency that plans, builds, operates and maintains a safe, accessible, efficient and reliable multimodal transportation system that connects people to destinations and markets throughout the state, regionally and around the world. MnDOT District 6, which represents an 11-county region in southeast Minnesota, is one of eight districts in the state.
Riverland Community College President Adenuga Atewologun, center, holds the keys to the 2000 Sterling snowplow donated to the college’s truck driving program by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. MnDOT District Engineer Jeff Vlaminck is directly left and Jonathan Rymer, the truck driving program director is directly right of Atewologun. Students and staff of the program gathered for the photo by the snowplow. (RCC photo).
Riverland Community College received a donation of a 2000 Sterling snowplow truck from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It provides the students additional training on a different equipment and give MnDOT the opportunity to recruit students as potential employees. (MnDOT photo).