Vortex Simulators Help Houston High School Prepare Students for Construction Careers

Association for Career & Technical Education

Like many other major cities, Houston’s economy is expanding—and the city’s growing list of commercial and residential construction projects require a substantial amount of skilled labor to meet its demand.

Providing students with practical experience was important to administrators, but the school district did not have regular access to heavy equipment for operator training. This meant that students could not count on seat time, and administrators could not establish a hands-on training program.

Over the years, students would attend events like the annual Construction Career Expo in Pasadena, Texas, where heavy equipment and simulators were set up for students to try, but their availability and use were limited.

With technology now a major part of the construction industry, administrators decided to take a more modern approach.

“We knew there was a need for simulators,” says Greg Harper, program director of career and technical education for the Aldine ISD.

“When we started revamping the construction program at Blanson CTE High School, we thought we could incorporate modern simulation-based training.”

CM Labs and their Vortex simulators came recommended by one of the school’s industry partners as a way to enhance student engagement in equipment operation.

In short order, the Aldine ISD acquired and installed Vortex simulators equipped with excavator training software at a learning lab in the high school.

“The realism of the Vortex simulators was an important element for us,” said Harper. “They are really one of the school’s showcase teaching tools.”

Vortex simulators helping students develop both practical skills and soft skills

On the simulators, students work through and complete the different training modules to develop their operating skills. “I would think an employer Screenshot from the CM Labs Excavator Simulator Training Pack would be very interested in what applications the students have done and how well they’ve done on certain skills test,” Harper said.

Using a simulator that is as realistic as possible will help make the transition to actual equipment easier, for students.

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