Vermeer has created a partnership with the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) — Iowa’s largest two-year college serving more than 75,000 students — to certify the Vermeer HDD Circuit training program. Individuals who complete the two-week, instructor-led program will be classified as a certified horizontal directional drill (HDD) operator.
“This is the first-of-its-kind certified HDD operator training program in the nation,” said DaveWisniewski, vice president, underground products at Vermeer. “While other training programs may provide a certificate of completion, each student who successfully completes the Vermeer HDD Circuit training program will be certified as an HDD operator from an accredited college. This is important as more project owners are asking underground contractors to verify their HDD operators have received training.”
This partnership through an accredited community college opens the enrollment of Vermeer HDD Circuit training to veterans or other individuals seeking a career in HDD or looking to advance their career in the industry.
“Vermeer and DMACC are particularly excited about the potential benefits to our growing veteran population,” commented Rob Denson, president of DMACC. “The fact that the HDD Circuit training program is a certified addition to the DMACC curriculum offerings means that veterans can use their GI Bill benefits to cover the cost of the HDD Circuit program tuition and lodging to attend the two-week instructor-led program that provides a mix of classroom time with hands-on experience in a small-group learning environment.”
During each two-week course, students will be exposed to topics on HDD safety, jobsite evaluation and setup, drill operation best practices, underground utility locating and potholing best practices, drilling fluid mixing and testing, proper bore and pullback techniques including the development of a bore to plan, as well as basic drill maintenance and inspection.
“DMACC has worked with Vermeer on a number of training initiatives focused on building the pipeline of skilled workers for its operations, but this is the most far-reaching effort to date,” said Denson. “Instead of training people to work at Vermeer, this innovative program is training individuals to work in the HDD industry, with skills that can be applied anywhere in the country or the world. These are high skilled jobs that provide outstanding career opportunities for individuals willing to train. DMACC is very proud to be able to certify this program.”
Vermeer HDD Circuit program will be taught by Vermeer trainers with extensive experience in HDD operation. Students will get approximately 40 hours of classroom time and 40 hours of hands-on experience — 20 hours locating and 20 hours operating the drill in the field.
“The HDD Circuit program develops drillers who can walk a bore, plan a bore, set up a bore and complete a bore,” said Tony Bokhoven, lifecycle training manager at Vermeer. “We are creating an opportunity for a new generation of drill operators to have a career in a growing global industry. At a time when the horizontal directional drilling industry is experiencing a shortage of drill operators, the HDD Circuit program is an ideal training program to help veterans, students and others looking for a way to enter this growing industry.”
The goal of the training program is that each student who successfully completes the program will be a productive drill operator or crew member. HDD Circuit program students must complete and pass a written test and hands-on evaluation in order to complete the program and receive the certified HDD operator designation.