LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Students at Fairdale High will soon learn how to operate a new forklift as part of their heavy equipment science magnet program, which trains them for careers in the construction and manufacturing industry.

The $15,000 forklift was donated to the school on Wednesday from Clark Material Handling Co. and Cardinal Carryor, Inc. 

“This donation is truly a game changer for our students,” said Dave Myers, one of two heavy equipment science instructors at Fairdale.  “Along with our two new forklift simulators, which will allow our students to gain needed experience before they climb behind the wheel, this creates another avenue of career opportunities in the booming manufacturing fields.”

In Kentucky, individuals must be licensed as a forklift operator in order to be OSHA compliant, said Toe Lie, another heavy equipment teacher at Fairdale.

“With the UPS hub here in Louisville and the warehouses in the surrounding areas, there’s a tremendous need for forklift operations in Jefferson County, making a certification in this field extremely valuable," Lie said.

He added certified forklift operators can earn a starting rate of $28 per hour.

“It is with great pleasure that Clark Material Handling and Cardinal Carryor donate a forklift to Fairdale High School for use in the school’s educational programs teaching material handling,” said Dennis Lawrence, president and CEO of Clark Material Handling. “As part of our Raising Hope program we are committed to working with our communities in developing educational and philanthropic partnerships. We trust this gift will bring many years of service to you and help prepare your students to be career ready.”

Fairdale’s Heavy Equipment Science program was initiated 17 years ago to address the growing need for skilled labor and equipment operation. 

Students receive hands-on experience on numerous pieces of machinery, often logging equipment hours through community projects such as cleaning up storm damage, building retention basins and setting up for community functions.

They also have the opportunity to receive certification from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), and graduates are able to launch successful careers in the construction industry with local employers.

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