VMI, Central Vo-Tech Offer Course in Mini-Dredge Operation, Hazardous Waste Handling 

A vocational training program for dredge operators will begin in Cushing, Oklahoma in September as a result of a partnership between Central Oklahoma Area Vo-Tech School, VMI, Inc. and the City of Cushing, Oklahoma. VMI is a manufacturer of small dredges for the national and international markets, headquartered in Cushing.

The course is believed to be the first and only mini-dredge operator training program of its kind. The first 40-hour program is scheduled for September 21 through 25, and participants will be trained in safety, dredging, hydraulics, maintenance, troubleshooting, operations and mobilization/demobilization.

A 40-hour training program in Hazardous Waste Operator training (Haswopper) will be offered the following week for those participants needing certification to work at hazardous waste sites.

VMI will furnish the dredges and instructors. As a unique feature, through the cooperation of the Cushing City Commission, much of the training will be conducted "on-water" at Cushing's city lake. "This will give students practical, hands-on operating experience," said Jim Potter, director of Business and Industry Services for Central Vo-Tech. "We think there is job creation potential in the project and are pleased that the three-way partnership can bring this to reality," he said.

Gene Maitlen, president of VMI, proposed the joint venture for the courses in response to increasing requests from his clients for trained mini-dredge operators. "Because of the Clean Water Act passed by congress, and public concern for cleaning up the environment, the prospects for our kind of equipment have increased dramatically. Dredges will be used for cleaning out sewage lagoons and cleaning up hazardous waste and spills," said Maitlen. "Our equipment is also ideal for cleaning out contaminated ponds to accommodate wildlife," he said.

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