MCC improves CDL program, OKS simulator


In response to the need for truck drivers and heavy equipment operators in the wake of the energy boom in the region, Miles Community College is working toward becoming a leader in Workforce Development.

At Monday’s monthly meeting of the MCC Board of Trustees, the board voted in favor of three separate items, essentially turning the Commercial Drivers License course into a four-week, four-credit class. Also on the horizon will be the purchase of a CDL simulator, which would make MCC the only college in eastern Montana with that technology. The Heavy Equipment/CDL program is headed by Jerry Forman.

“I was really excited to see how our academic side was able to come together and put this course into a four-credit format,” said MCC President Stacy Klippenstein. “Our ability, once the grant money comes in, to move forward and get the simulators all set up is a good move for MCC.”

MCC is now waiting for a grant from the Department of Labor to receive final approval to move forward. The grant will give the school $482,000, with up to $148,000 earmarked for the CDL simulator. Bids for the simulator are currently being sent out.

“Once we are confirmed the money is with us, the next step would be purchasing the equipment and fitting it into the curriculum Jerry Forman has set up,” Klippenstein said.

From a marketing standpoint, MCC has already seen interest from all over Montana and neighboring states because of the simulator, and Klippenstein hopes to continue to tap into those areas.

“We will begin to heavily market this program we have for the CDL,” he said. “MCC has done a lot of work on this the past six to eight months to rework the CDL course into something that makes sense for us.”

Now students taking the CDL course can apply it to the credit requirements for the one-year Heavy Equipment certificate.

Also on the agenda of Monday’s meeting was Klippenstein’s President’s Report. In it, Klippenstein thanked the board, the faculty and staff and the community of Miles City for his recent inauguration ceremony.

“I absolutely enjoyed it,” Klippenstein said. “I really appreciate all the community members that showed up, and it was really nice to see some of the state folks like Sen. Eric Moore attend. And it was good to see the recognition of MCC by our congressional delegation. MCC is a very important piece of eastern Montana, and they recognize that.”

Klippenstein also welcomed Marilynn Miller, fundraising consultant and former CEO and president of the MSUB Foundation. Miller was on campus Feb. 24-25 to assist the Ag Advancement Center Committee and Endowment Board in fundraising activities and planning associated with the Ag Advancement Center project. 

An update was also given on the Buckaroo Bash, held on Feb. 8. 

“The event was held in the Centra for the second year with 299 people in attendance,” Klippenstein said. “There were 51 items in the live auction and 134 items in the silent auction. The Bash was a huge success and brought in the highest amount raised to date, which was $44,640. The top three items were “The Missus” by Buzz Tarter, $3,900, “The Prospect” by Gary Anderson, $2,700, and “Final Crossing: by Bryan Tarter, $1,800.”

The event benefits the MCC rodeo program.

Klippenstein and Vice President of Administrative Services and Finance Lisa Watson traveled to Helena on Feb. 12-13 to attend the Legislative Audit Committee meeting and present findings from MCC’s Fiscal Year ’11 and ’12 audit reports. 

“There were two findings which MCC must address related to timeliness of annual financial statements and audits,” Klippenstein said. “The committee approved the audits and asked great questions. A special thanks to Lisa Watson for all her work on preparing these reports and ensuring MCC is in compliance with all regulations.”

In Human Resources news, Val Hyatt has been hired as the new Enrollment Services Technician effective January 20. Andrew Donnelly has been hired as a full-time custodian effective January 27.  

Dale Marcil has been hired as the new Heavy Equipment/CDL Instructor funded by the SWAMMEI grant. His date of hire will be March 3.  

The dining services search committee has followed up with potential candidates for the part-time dining services aide position and is awaiting a hiring decision. The Financial Literacy Program coordinator position resulted in a failed search and remains open until filled.  

The Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education position opened on January 31  and closed on February 14. The search committee met the week of February 17, and interviews are scheduled the end of February and beginning of March.