• Caterpillar awards first two scholarships for Autonomous Equipment Technician program at Western Dakota Tech

    Caterpillar awards first two scholarships for Autonomous Equipment Technician program at Western Dakota Tech

    Six full scholarships to be awarded by Caterpillar in 2022

    Caterpillar Inc., recently awarded two full scholarships to students entering the Electrical Trades – Autonomous Equipment Technician (AET) program recently developed in collaboration with Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC), Rapid City, S.D. At a signing event held at the college on Jan. 25, 2022, Gannon Pudwill and Matt Williams were the first two scholarship recipients for the nine-month, two-semester certificate program for the spring. Caterpillar will offer an additional four full scholarships for students entering the AET program in the fall.

    Scholarship program recipients (L-R): Jennie Best, assistant director of scholarships, Ann Bolman, Ed. D., WDTC president, Gannon Pudwill (recipient), Matt Williams (recipient) and Justin Sanchez, Cat MineStar training manager.

    The first of its kind, the new AET certificate program at WDTC provides in-depth instruction for the skills required to install, commission, and maintain electrical and mechanical systems relating to autonomous mining technology. With its overview of general mining practices, the program bridges the gap between basic mechanical systems and advanced IT systems.

    Principles of electricity, networking, welding and mechanical skills learned during the course provide a foundation for the support of Caterpillar mining technology products and various autonomous systems. Upon completing the AET program, graduates leave with 24-30 college credit hours and the skills to support technology offerings that range from machine health and fleet management software to fully autonomous mining operations.

    Presenting the scholarships and commenting on the new program, Justin Sanchez, Cat®MineStar™ Solutions global training manager, said: “Caterpillar is excited to offer a total of six full-ride Autonomous Equipment Technician scholarships in 2022 to kick off this new program. It greatly benefits students with interests in pursuing mining technology careers. With students learning about Caterpillar’s technologies for autonomy, this program helps to build a pipeline of new individuals to the mining field that will benefit Caterpillar, Cat dealers, and mine sites in general.

    During the scholarship signing event, WDTC President, Ann Bolman, Ed. D., commented: “We would like to thank Caterpillar for coming to Western Dakota Technical College with the program idea and for the hard work in putting together the scholarships. It’s an innovative idea, and we are so appreciative of the company’s support. It’s a great opportunity for our students.”

    Scholarship applications are now being accepted for the second, fall-2022 AET program. Enrollment for WDTC’s fall courses starts in March 2022. More information about the full AET curriculum can be found at www.wdt.edu/aet. Students can apply for the scholarship online at WDTC’s website or call the Scholarship office at 605-719-3064.

    More information about Cat MineStar, the mining industry’s broadest suite of integrated mine operations and mobile equipment management technologies that integrate products, processes, and people to meet the mine site’s goals during the production stages of mining, can be found at www.cat.com/mining, or by contacting the regional Cat dealer.

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