CM Labs Simulations is helping Del Mar College’s Division of Workforce and Economic Development to narrow the skilled labor gap by implementing a Vortex Advantage simulator in its heavy equipment operator training program.
Del Mar College’s Workforce Programs – Corporate Services develops customized training programs for energy companies near Corpus Christi, Texas. Although it had been training heavy equipment operation using textbooks and PowerPoint presentations, the department decided that a simulator would have a greater impact on students by taking the hardest tasks and having them practice in an environment without dangerous implications. A simulator would also reduce the risk and liability of using a live machine for training and eliminate maintenance, upkeep, fuel and inspection costs.
The five-screen Vortex Advantage simulator was purchased using a Texas Workforce Commission Skill Development Fund to train carry-deck crane operators, with the idea that the college would expand its program to other heavy equipment training modules.
When the college purchased the simulator, Dara Betz, program manager, Workforce Programs – Corporate Services, said no other providers had earthmoving software except for CM Labs. Del Mar was able to buy the excavator and wheel loader software shortly after purchasing the simulator. It is also planning to add the backhoe, forklift, and tower crane training packs.
The Vortex Advantage simulator is a mobile unit that can easily be transported to the jobsite on a gooseneck trailer. “What we liked about the Vortex Advantage is the learning and training can be at any time or location, and it can be repeated as often as necessary,” Betz said. “Our customers are in the industry, and we want to meet their needs, which means going out to their jobsites and doing the training there.”