Generous Scholarships Available This Spring for Laurel Ridge’s Heavy Equipment Operator Program

For Immediate Release:
March 22, 2018

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

HCCA release

Thanks to the generosity of the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA) and HCCA members David Hazel, of William A. Hazel Inc., and Jim Anderson, of The Anderson Co., a $50,000 scholarship fund has been established to support up to 25 students interested in enrolling in Laurel Ridge’s Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) program.

The next class begins in April at the college’s Vint Hill location in Fauquier County. The HCCA-HEO scholarship is valued at approximately $2,000 per student and will cover 75% of the tuition cost.

Interested students should visit or call 540-868-7021 for more information about the scholarship and the HEO program. Last fall, Laurel Ridge became the first community college in Virginia to offer a statewide-recognized industry credential program for heavy equipment operators.

“The members of the HCCA understand that building a vibrant workforce is integral to meeting Virginia’s infrastructure needs,” HCCA Executive Director Ken Garrison says. “Making this needed training accessible to Virginia residents will help relieve the critical shortage of trained operators. HCCA is pleased to partner with Lord Fairfax, both in creating the HEO course and in hiring its graduates.”

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity and leadership of the HCCA,” says Laurel Ridge’s Vice President for Workforce, Jeanian Clark. “Laurel Ridge’s fast-track, heavy equipment operator program
is a great example of what a community college can achieve in collaboration with our partners in business and industry.”

Students in Laurel Ridge’s HEO program are trained by experienced instructors and use state-of-the-art simulation equipment. The Level 1 and Level 2 programs are designed to be completed in two months, and graduates will have the necessary credential to obtain entry-level employment in the industry.

According to Carlene Hurdle, Laurel Ridge’s workforce coordinator in Fauquier County, graduates of the program who are not currently employed in the heavy construction field will be guaranteed an interview with HR personnel from several local construction companies.

Garrison of the HCCA adds: “It is these newly-skilled operators who will provide the backbone of the construction industry. The HCCA is proud to make this contribution to bridge the current funding gap for workforce education in this year’s state budget, and to keep Virginia moving forward. It will enable students who see the opportunities presented in the construction industry, but who need the financial assistance the scholarships will provide. We at the HCCA see this as an investment in Virginia’s future.

It is projected that nearly 150 new construction equipment operators will be needed each year in the immediate Fauquier County region, with those jobs paying an average of $43,000 a year. There is also significant demand for the skilled technicians in Northern Virginia.


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.