Students dig deep, excel in excavator certification

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Several Crenshaw County Schools students have marked a significant milestone in their career development journey by successfully completing Excavator Certification training offered through Lurleen B. Wallace Community College (LBWCC) Workforce Development. In a collaborative effort with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Skills for Success program, these students have demonstrated proficiency in operating excavators, equipping themselves with valuable skills poised to meet the demands of the modern workforce.

The enthusiasm expressed by Crenshaw County College and Career Coach Haley Beasley Kilcrease, reflects the collective effort invested in nurturing students’ potential through collaborative initiatives with LBWCC Workforce Development and Southeast AlabamaWorks. According to Kilcrease, such partnerships epitomize the essence of Career Technical Education (CTE).

“I am always excited for the opportunity for our students to grow their skills and knowledge when we team up with LBWCC Workforce Development and Southeast AlabamaWorks,” Kilcrease said. “This class is what Career Technical Education is all about and we are delivering an experience that leads to a credential with industry value.”

Kathy Smyth, Rural Workforce Coordinator with Southeast AlabamaWorks, echoed Kilcrease’s sentiments, highlighting the program’s impact on student employability and skill development.

“Southeast AlabamaWorks has been privileged to be a part of the Skills For Success High School training programs to date. It has been remarkable to see these students perform their skills on the Skid Steer and Excavator Equipment. Mr. Barton has kept his instruction fun and interesting while maintaining a high level of training. These students will have certifications coming out of high school which makes them even more employable. Not only that, but the Career Academy programs have also taught students life skills, soft skills, and communication skills so that they will graduate work-ready, whether they decide to attend a 4-year University, 2-year Community College, or go directly into the workforce. Ashley Catrett, Haley Kilcrease, and others are equipping students for real life, outside of high school, and it’s being noticed and applauded by local businesses and industry.”

The Excavator Operator Training Course provides students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience required to excel as excavator operators. According to LBWCC Director of Workforce Development Chad Sutton said that communities across the nation are facing a shortage of skilled tradesmen in the workforce. Sutton emphasized the significance of such initiatives.

“The perfect formula is Awareness + Exploration = Skill Development that leads into career opportunities,” Sutton said. “I think this heavy equipment training perfectly portrays that formula. In our 3 county area over 400 high school students will be exposed to the construction industry and I think our communities will see these benefits for years to come.”

The Excavator Operator Training Course blends online instruction, lab activities, and on-site training to offer participants a comprehensive understanding of excavator operation, safety protocols, and maintenance procedures.
This course and other training programs spanning various industries such as construction, fiber optics, trucking, and food and beverage services, and the opportunity to be awarded ACCS credentials in these subjects and more, is available free of charge to both students and adults. ACCS Credentials are awarded to individuals who complete these courses licensed by the Alabama Community College System for non-college-credit training.

The 17 students earning excavator certification were Highland Home students Andrew Herring and Austin Herring, Luverne students Josh Bearden, Turner Claybrook, Jacob Crum, Jamarcus Davison, Sawyer Flynn, Austin Givens. Jordan Johnson and Dante Smith, Brantley students Leslyie Alonzo, Thomas Williamson, Tyson Grant, Hunter Hughes, Jace Levens, Romeo Pressley and Levi Tillery.

For those interested in exploring available training courses and obtaining further information, visit