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Construction and Heavy Equipment Jobs . . . For Women Too

Posted by nahets on December 3, 2007

For those of us who know construction workers and heavy equipment operators, I am sure most of them are males. Lets face it, shopping and bulldozers just don’t seem to match up all that well; however, many of us will be surprised to learn that there are more women employed in construction and heavy equipment industries than we would think.

The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau keeps track of statistics for nontraditional occupations for women. Here are some relevant statistics in construction and heavy equipment occupations.*

Construction and Heavy Equipment Occupations

Although the statistics do not show a high percentage of women involved in these occupations, it is obvious that hundreds of thousands of females across the United States are interested in or already are employed in construction jobs, including heavy equipment operating. Similar trends hold true for countries outside of the United States as well. The following is a summary from an article written on November 8, 2007 by Matthew Craze on entitled, Andean Women Use Gentle Touch to Conquer Monster Mining Trucks”:

South America’s mining industry is being flooded by women who come mainly from the Andean Mountains to work as mining truck drivers. The main reason the women do this is because it greatly increases their income compared to typical work in the villages and communities they live in. As would be expected by some, the men did not believe that these women would last under the harsh mining and weather conditions; however, many women feel the same way as mining truck driver, Patricia Guajardo, who said, “The winters can be very harsh, but I love it.”

Despite concerns or issues regarding the performance of these female equipment operators, many industry personnel actually say the women have a better touch in operating than some men do. Cristian Silva, a truck and earth-moving equipment trainer for Caterpillar, Inc., said “Women tend to take more care of the machine and don’t abuse the brakes or the engine…Operating the machine better means more profits.” This is one of the main reason mining companies in South America, such as Barrick Gold Corp. and BHP Billiton Ltd, like the female operators—their performance actually cut costs and increase output.

Female Heavy Equipment Operator It is a win-win situation with these South American women becoming equipment operators for mining companies. It not only allows the women to increase their lifestyle and show their capabilities but it also brings in profit for the mining companies. There have been few minor difficulties in hiring women operators (some have legs that are too short to operate and it can be hard to find them because many women stay home with children). Despite these obstacles, it has been a positive experience for both the women and mining companies of South America.

Until 1993, women were banned from working at mines in Chile. By 2005, women made up 4.3 percent of the mining workforce in Chile, according to Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer.*

So it appears that it is safe to say that women can experience success in construction and heavy equipment work, just as men can.


*(1) Nontraditional Occupations for Women in 2006. U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. Retrieved November 26, 2007 from

*(2) Craze, Matthew. (November 2007). Andean Women Use Gentle Touch to Conquer Monster Mining Trucks. Retrieved November 22, 2007 from

Posted in bulldozer operator, crane operator, dump truck operator, Education & Training, excavator operator, fork lift operator, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, industry news | 2 Comments »

NAHETS Announces Release of the Yellow Metal Boot Camp-Heavy Equipment Field Training Manual

Posted by Taylor Morris on August 15, 2007

Las Vegas — August 14, 2007 — Today the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS) announced immediate distribution of its new Yellow Metal™ Boot Camp Heavy Equipment Field Training Manual (version-1), enabling its member schools to further use the skills-based field curriculum in their training services. The manual will enhance and make more effective the heavy equipment training and education provided by NAHETS member heavy equipment schools.

NAHETS requires its member schools to use the Prentice Hall Contren Learning Series program from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Yellow Metal Boot Camp integrates with the NCCER heavy equipment skills tasks which are taught in the field. The full color, 440 page phone-book size volume features original illustrations packaged in a customized, foil embossed cover.

Yellow Metal Boot Camp Training Material

NAHETS also announced that the manual has a companion website for students. The site features several hours of training videos that compliment the components of the equipment training tasks, referred to as “drills.” This program presents the original task-based curriculum, as well as graphically rich multimedia. Equipment training videos can be also downloaded onto an iPod, watched on-line via, or played from a DVD. This NAHETS product is taught in conjunction with the basic NCCER curriculum.


Chris Cannon-Director of Curriculum Development

NAHETS director of curriculum development, Chris Cannon said, “We have been working on this field training program for several years. Matt Klabacka, executive director for NAHETS, Marty Guy, chief heavy equipment instructor, and Jeff Belknap, training director at the Nevada School of Construction, recognized the need for a more organized, task-oriented field training system to supplement the NCCER curriculum in our schools. This program covers everything from safety, blueprints, and grade work, all the way through each piece of heavy equipment we teach at the schools including: skid steer loaders, tractors, backhoes, dump trucks, water trucks, compactors, loaders, forklifts, bulldozers, scrapers, excavators, and motor graders.”


Klabacka took this concept to the University of Las Vegas Center for Work Force Development, where Professor Dr. Clifford R. McClain helped organize, validate, and refine it. From there the NAHETS curriculum development department consulted with experts in the field and then authored a supplementary training curriculum. Then they partnered with the NAHETS media department and Yellow Metal TV, headed by Rhett Nielson, producer and artist who came up with the original packaging, display, and marketing concept. In addition, NAHETS also engaged Ryan Bankhead, 3-D animation specialist and illustrator, and video editors and cameramen Trevon Angulo, David Taylor, and Sam Teilman, to create the Yellow Metal Boot Camp product that NAHETS has today.


The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools ( is recognized as the national leader in the entry level heavy equipment operator training field. It has member schools located coast to coast across the country. The association schools offer a wide range of training and services designed to empower people in their quest to join the ranks of the highly sought after construction trades, specializing in heavy equipment operation from backhoes and bulldozers to rough terrain hydraulic cranes.




Posted in *Press/Media, crane operator, dump truck operator, Education & Training, excavator operator, fork lift operator, heavy equipment operator, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, industry news, motor grader operator, Standards & Safety, wheel loader operator | 3 Comments »

Student Testimonial

Posted by nahetsblog on June 7, 2007

“My name is Tom Johnson.

“I’m from New England, Connecticut. I am 24 years old. I was actually eating breakfast with my mom and dad when they mentioned I should go to the Georgia School of Construction, member of the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools, NAHETS, ( They said they would pay for it and I took them up on it. The drive down from Connecticut was 1,000 miles, and it took me 18 hours. I found out about the Georgia School of Construction through the website. The difference was the website. It was very professional-it looked like something I want to be part of.

“I really didn’t know what to expect-I was a little nervous. They were talking about job placement; they were really stressing safety. One of the things they said it would take was a good attitude. You have to be at the school at 7 AM, you do 4 hours of book work then you break for lunch, then you get out to the site around noon and spend the rest of the day on the equipment. It’s just like playing in the dirt.

“We showed up at the site and they gave us our hard hat and safety glasses. They could not stress enough the safety. We went and familiarized ourselves with the equipment there and we walked around the equipment telling us about the pinch points, about the grease nipples, stuff like that.

“Our first week we went over safety, our second week we really got on the equipment and really learned how to operate it and basic stuff, our third week it was more of skilled operator stuff. Level I was about skidsteer(bobcat), backhoe, tractor, dumptruck, watertruck, front loader, safety, familiarizing yourself with the equipment, and skill training on 7 pieces of equipment.

“The school stressed that their biggest thing was job placement so I put my confidence in them. The school would make a lot of contacts for me, they would write me up a resume. They went on the computer for me the used their own contacts.

“I stayed at the suburban extended-stay hotel, it’s a decent place. There’s a lot of people in and out so there’s always something going on.

“The staff is great. Jay, he is like one of the guys. I feel like my ability is much greater than from when I started. I feel very comfortable on the equipment that I learned to operate.

“I feel I know enough to start my own business.”

View the testimonial here

Posted in Admissions & Recruitment, crane, crane operator, dump truck, dump truck operator, Education & Training, excavator, excavator operator, fork lift operator, forklift, Graduate Placement, heavy equipment operator, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, motor grader, motor grader operator, wheel loader, wheel loader operator | Leave a Comment »