Partnership with VC helps new Caterpillar employees

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Aug. 18, 2012 at 3:18 a.m.

Victoria College's partnership with Caterpillar to train its employees has led to the college's expansion.

"They taught us everything that we needed to know," said facility well technician Fred Chaney. "They teach you how to deal with hazards that actually exist and a lot of companies don't do that."

Chaney said he is happy to be at a company dedicated to developing his skill set and career.

"I oversee the quality of the welds, inspect the parts and make sure when they're going out the doors they meet Caterpillar's standards," Chaney said. "I have 28 years in welding experience."

In March, Chaney, of Goliad, took part in Caterpillar's new employee training at Victoria College.

The training covers areas in safety, welding, basic assembly, warehouse operations and logistics.

Since completing the training, Chaney now oversees the testing for the welding portion of VC's training alongside the part-time instructors at VC.

Jennifer Yancey, vice president of College Advancement and External Affairs at Victoria College, said the college and Caterpillar started working on the training program soon after Caterpillar announced it was coming to Victoria.

"It's very exciting for VC to be working with a company such as Caterpillar," Yancey said. "We look forward to working with our business and industry partners."

In February, VC started looking to expand the training program into another building on 1404 N. Liberty Street.

The VC college board approved the purchase of the 7,200-square-foot building for $200,000.

"There is a demand in our community for skilled workforce," Yancey said.

In May, voters approved a $22 million bond proposal for the college to build an Emerging Technology Center. It will face the Caterpillar plant. The center will serve as a training facility for Caterpillar and other businesses.

The facility would include welding and computer labs, traditional classroom space and rooms for large-scale corporate training events. It would create a home for all workforce and continuing education training, freeing up space on a landlocked campus for academic programs.

The center would serve VC's longtime partners, such as petrochemical, manufacturing and oil and gas companies.

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