Skilled-Trades Spokesman Again Champions Penn College Students

This article was originally published in the PC Today News & Information. Click here to view the original article.For the seventh consecutive year, Pennsylvania College of Technology students have been selected for $1,000 national scholarships to help them buy tools for their imminent employment in the heavy construction equipment field.

Benjamin P. Coppola, of Danville, and Andrew M. Shane, of Boyertown – both about to graduate in heavy construction equipment technology: technician emphasis – were among the high-achieving students receiving funds through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation in partnership with the AED Foundation, an Associated Equipment Distributors affiliate.

AED is an Illinois-based international trade association representing more than 800 construction equipment distributors, manufacturers and industry-service firms in North America.Mike Rowe is the creator and host of the “Dirty Jobs” series on the Discovery Channel and, as a renowned advocate of technical education’s role in fueling the workforce, was interviewed for Penn College’s 2014 documentary, “Working Class: 100 Years of Hands-On Education.”

“When I think of Ben, it makes me grateful I chose this profession,” noted Mark E. Sones, instructor of diesel equipment technology. “He is the type of student that is always on point, absorbing your every word, questioning the function and physics of how things work; he is truly passionate about our industry and being the best at what he does. It has been an honor to be part of Ben’s technical education, and it will be exciting to see where his abilities take him through life and his career.”

Faculty were equally effusive about Shane’s attributes: “Andrew has a real passion and desire for the heavy equipment industry, and it is awesome he can be recognized for being an outstanding student,” said Chris S. Weaver, instructor of diesel equipment technology. “He will make a positive and lasting impact in his field of study, and I am honored to have him as a student.”

The scholarships are available to students enrolled in diesel equipment technology or related programs that are AED-accredited. Penn College is the only Pennsylvania institution on that list, attaining accreditation for its two-year majors in heavy construction equipment technology: technician emphasis and heavy construction equipment technology: Caterpillar equipment emphasis majors.

A total of 13 Penn College students have been awarded tool scholarships in the past seven years. To qualify, those students must have the highest GPAs in their program and submit brief essays that encompass their goals, choice of college and career, and perspective on why AED accreditation matters.

Both of this year’s Penn College honorees began their postsecondary education elsewhere – Coppola in the University of Pittsburgh’s engineering program and Shane at Penn State for agricultural engineering – before being drawn to the institution’s reputation and the solid career opportunities for the hands-on skills they are acquiring.

“Tools can be very pricey, and I find myself stressing over whether or not I will have the tools that I need to do the job to my best abilities,” said Shane, who has accepted a position with H.L. Wiker, a Lancaster-based excavation company, and who has long-term aspirations to return to his agricultural roots.

“I am planning on buying some beef cows when I get out of school, and this scholarship will allow me to buy tools and save some of my own money to put toward that. It would be a big help to me getting my career started.”

“The mikeroweWORKS/AED Foundation Tools Scholarship would help me because, in nearly all cases, a technician is responsible for his own tools, and one can never have enough tools,” said Coppola, who also earned a degree in diesel technology and is eyeing a career as a heavy equipment road technician for a dealership or an excavating/construction company.

“While I already possess basic hand tools, I still need A/C manifold gauges, a set of crows’-foot wrenches and a high-quality multimeter. Having the scholarship would provide the funds for me to buy these tools and more, thus preparing me for entry into the workforce.”

AED Foundation Recognizes First in Nation High School Diesel Technician Program

Leaders of The AED Foundation last week traveled to Severn, Maryland to present Anne Arundel County Public Schools Center of Applied Technology (CAT) North with a Certification of Recognition for their cutting edge diesel technician program. “We are very pleased to present this recognition to a very deserving school,” stated AED Foundation Chairman Denny Vander Molen. “Though we have 42 diesel technician programs at 32 Accredited Colleges throughout the United States and Canada, this program in conjunction with Pennsylvania College of Technology, is the only high school program that meets our rigorous standards.”

Secondary or high school technical programs become AED Foundation Recognized by meeting technical standards that: a.) are locally developed and mutually agreed to by the secondary school, the local AED Accredited college program (in this case Pennsylvania College of Technology), and industry stakeholders; b.) are derived from and a subset of AED Foundation national technical college standards, and c.) provide a rational and seamless progression from secondary to college technical education.

“The technician shortage costs the construction and heavy equipment industry $2.4 billion per year. That’s money taken off of dealers’ bottom lines and out of the pockets of the men and women who already support our businesses. That’s lost opportunity and missed chances to pursue new customers and projects. That’s investment removed from the supply chain, sending ripples across the entire economy and into every industry, “ stated AED Foundation President Robert Henderson. “That’s why it’s so important that we develop programs like this at the high school level. We simply can’t wait until college any longer,” he added.

Joining the AED Foundation Leaders at the recognition ceremony were CAT North Principal Dan Schaffhauser, Assistant Principal Lori Chearney, Diesel Power Technology Instructor Jake Kepich, local AED Member Lucas Ochmann, Marketing Director for Security Equipment Company, Dean of Transportation & National Resource Technology Justin Beishline, Pennsylvania College of Technology and Deb Albert, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Coordinator of Career and Technology Education. “We really appreciate The AED Foundation coming here to recognize our program,” Albert stated. “Our message is that every student does not need to go to a four year college and come out with a mountain of debt. There are great careers in diesel technology and we want to help students get started,” she concluded.


AED is an international trade association representing companies involved in the distribution, rental, and support of equipment used in construction, mining, energy, forestry, power generation, agriculture, and industrial applications.  More information is available at

The AED Foundation enhances the success of member companies by encouraging continuous learning, by providing educational opportunities for today’s employees, and by improving the availability and quality of equipment industry employees in the future. More information is available at

AED Foundation Hosts Workforce Development Forum

The AED Foundation last week hosted a forum at the Hotel George on Capitol Hill to highlight workforce issues and the critical shortage of diesel technicians. North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, provided the keynote address. “Across the country, there are men and women who are building roads and bridges; mining natural resources; harvesting crops; bringing lumber to market; and so much more. They could not succeed without the industrial equipment you and your workers manufacture and maintain,” Foxx remarked. “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and share what Congress is doing to close the skills gap and ensure workers are equipped with the skills they need to compete for today’s jobs. Like you, we’re doing everything we can to help build a brighter, more prosperous future for our country,” she added.

“We were pleased to have Rep. Foxx join us today and appreciate her commitment to providing solutions to key workforce issues,” stated Associated Equipment Distributors President and CEO Brian P. McGuire. McGuire added.

The AED Foundation also unveiled its new logo and tagline at the luncheon. The AED Foundation decided to refresh its logo to highlight the momentum stemming from a record fundraising event earlier this year and with an eye on the horizon for more technical colleges accredited in the US and Canada in 2017. “The logo reflects upward motion with the tread and the tagline better defining what the Foundation is about moving forward,” stated AED Foundation Chairman Denny Vander Molen. The new tagline “Constructing Paths To Opportunity” helps The AED Foundation appeal to a larger audience, including dealers and potential employees for our industry.”

The AED Foundation officially recognized its first  in the nation high school diesel technology program at Anne Arundel High School System’s Center of Applied Technology North in Severn, Maryland on April 6th.

AED Foundation Accredits North Dakota State College of Science Diesel Programs

The AED Foundation yesterday presented Certificates of Accreditation for the Diesel Technology-Komatsu A.A.S. Degree Program and Re-Accreditation of the Diesel Technology-General and Caterpillar Dealer Service Technician A.A.S. Degree Programs at North Dakota State College of Science. “We are pleased that you have chosen to demonstrate your commitment to academic excellence and continuous improvement through the accreditation process,” stated AED Foundation President Robert Henderson.

Accreditation by The AED Foundation signifies to equipment industry stakeholders that NDSCS’ programs have met rigorous industry-specific national construction equipment technical standards. It further signifies to current and prospective students that NDSCS programs provide the best in diesel-equipment technical education as defined by the industry they serve.

The term of accreditation is five years starting from the date shown on the Certificates of Accreditation. The AED Foundation relies on the awardee to maintain the standards upon which these accreditations were granted, and continue serving students with excellence. The AED Foundation currently lists 42 diesel technician programs at 32 Accredited Colleges throughout the United States and Canada. The AED Foundation recently recognized their first High School Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland earlier this month.

“The AED Foundation is dedicated to developing and improving construction equipment industry partnerships that meet the mutual needs of local dealers, manufacturers and technical colleges,” stated AED Foundation Chairman Denny Vander Molen. “We are proud to be affiliated with North Dakota State College of Science through these accreditations, and wish ongoing success for your fine programs.”

The AED Foundation Releases New Technician Workforce Research



This research study focuses on Career and Technical Education (CTE), one of the main proxies by which skilled technicians receive training to prepare them for the skilled-labor workforce. In the examination of CTE, this report seeks to identify the reasons for the collapse of high school CTE and the resulting effect on the economy. The report also identifies best practices at the secondary (and to a lesser extent, the postsecondary) education level in delivering successful CTE programs. Next, the report provides a detailed overview of CTE funding levels from federal and state sources. Finally, the report identifies key access points at the secondary and postsecondary education levels via individual state “playbooks”; AED members can use these playbooks as guides in contributing to closing the skills gap.

Click below to download the report:

Research Report — Part I
State Playbooks — Part II