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Caterpillar teams up with colleges to encourage students in science and engineering

(Radio Iowa) – A construction equipment giant has formed a partnership with the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, aiming to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Caterpillar has parked one of its newest bulldozers outside the colleges’ Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center in Davenport and set up a training simulator inside.

The company’s Scott Johnson says Caterpillar believes the emphasis in education today should be on reading, science, math, and technical skills.

Johnson says, “Students who visit this lab will be the future engineers, the future innovators who will find new ways to help our customers be successful and do it in a way that supports sustainability.”

He hopes hands-on experience, including the simulator or even climbing on a large bulldozer, will help students choose technical careers. Don Doucette, chancellor of the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, says a top priority is to work with companies so future workers have the right skills.

“Our goal is to harness the fun that will inspire future scientists and future engineers and future technicians and future inventors,” Doucette says. “What could be more fun than driving heavy equipment?”

The advanced technology center opened 20 years ago, with displays and programs focused on energy and environmental education, for students and teachers. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges has three campuses with about 9,000 total students at Muscatine Community College in Muscatine, Clinton Community College in Clinton, and Scott Community College in Bettendorf and Davenport.