In December 2023, Sampson Community College (SCC) proudly graduated its first class of Heavy Equipment Operators, a new program beginning enrollment in Fall 2023. This semester, SCC had thirteen program graduates, each earning their Level 1 & 2 Heavy Equipment Operator certifications from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

The Heavy Equipment Operator program is a one semester training program that prepares students with basic knowledge on heavy equipment identification, safety, basic field surveying, and a variety of other topics needed in the construction field.

Registered students will also be partnered with a local contractor to serve in an internship while participating in the program, earning over 470 hours of experience. The Level 1 & 2 certifications include certifications in off/on road dump trucks, bulldozers, excavators, skid steers, and backhoe operations.

These certifications are recognized in the industry nationwide and students can carry these with them wherever they seek employment. Graduates will also hold certifications in CPR/First Aid, forklift operator, and N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) work zone flagger.

SCC’s Heavy Equipment Operator graduates of 2023 pictured with course instructors Ashley Grimes (far left), Kendric Faison (far right), and Amanda Bradshaw, Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education (front right).

According to Ashley Grimes, Heavy Equipment Instructor, the class runs Monday-Wednesday, giving students the chance to participate in their company internships throughout the rest of the week.

“The goal of our heavy equipment class is to train operators and to help prepare them to become future industry leaders,” explained Grimes. “Our class is not only about operating equipment, but it also teaches our students about the safety aspect of the industry, maintenance of equipment, site work, excavation math, civil drawings, reading blueprints, site plans, and also erosion control.”

For Fall 2023, out of the 13 students enrolled, 10 have already been placed in internships with local companies so far. Grimes mentioned that every student has maintained perfect attendance, up until the last couple of weeks, which he feels, “says a lot about the program.”

He congratulated, “Teaching these students has been a very rewarding experience, challenging at times but very rewarding. The students mentioned here are carrying the torch forward for the next generation. As we applaud their achievements, let us also recognize that these students are not just bragging rights for the class; they are the promise of an even more impressive future for the heavy equipment industry.”

Fall 2023 Heavy Equipment Operator graduates included:

Jack Ryan Wroughton
Alexis Chavez
Ciro Fiorito
Harrison Hunt
Kelvin Jackson
Caleb Madgar
Joseph Madgar
Enrique Martinez
Tornen Melvin
Greysen Tart
Daniel Ventura-Antonio
Colby Weeks
Jason Torres

In the future, Grimes, along with SCC as a whole, hopes to grow the Heavy Equipment Operator program to the “next level,” and look into offering specialized training on specific equipment or specialized training for a particular skill set.

Sampson CC extends its congratulations to its Fall 2023 program graduates. The College looks forward to seeing them apply their newfound knowledge and skills in the local workforce, and hopes they will continue to make SCC proud in all they do.

For more information about the Heavy Equipment Operator program or how to enroll, visit

About Sampson Community College:  Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education. SCC is committed to the principles of equal educational and employment opportunities for all.