Friday, February 18, 2011

Your hearts are as big as your rigs: Truck Driving gets kudos

Instructor Ken Thompson shows
plaque from Northwest Harvest.
For the past 10 years, students in instructor Ken Thompson's Commercial Truck Driving-Entry Level course have partnered with Northwest Harvest to deliver more than 840,000 pounds of food annually to distribution centers in Longview and Vancouver. On Thursday, Feb. 3, Northwest Harvest honored Ken, along with King 5, U.S. Bank and other organizations, with a plaque for his efforts to help put food on the table of Washington families in need.

"Helping Northwest Harvest move food donations to the distribution warehouses each month is an honor for me and the students, and is a great real world experience for the class," said Ken. "Students learn how to pull 70,000-80,000 pounds gross weight and experience what it's like in the industry, working for a real company," he said.

Click below to read the message on the plaque:

Congratulations, Ken and truck driving students!

Truck Driving no foreign language for these ESL students

How can 1+1=20? When is a zero a perfect score? And where can you find 12 people born in six different countries working together as a unified team? The 10 students in instructor Bob Gunter’s Commercial Truck Driving/English as a Second Language (CDL/ESL) program can tell you. 

One plus one equals 20 when you are talking about a team of two commercial truck drivers. Two drivers behind the wheel of one tractor-trailer rig can move the rig and its freight a total of 20 hours in a 24-hour period. Compare that to the 11 hours a single driver can operate a single vehicle in a 24-hour period, and you’ll understand why the industry loves team drivers.

Another team entered the workforce when students Irina Dikaia and Dmytro Dykyy passed the Washington state Commercial Driver License Skills Test and obtained their Class A Commercial Driver Licenses (CDLs) on Feb. 1. The pair became the first husband and wife team to obtain their CDLs through Bates' CDL/ESL program.

Their classmates Aleksandr Balasyuk and Stanislav Iriciuc know the great feeling a perfect zero can bring. The CDL Skills Test consists of three parts: a Pre-Trip Inspection, a Basic Controls Test (Backing) and a Road Test. A zero represents a perfect score on any of these tests. Aleks and Stanislav both got zeros on their Pre-Trip Inspection, which evaluates a driver’s ability to check their tractor-trailer for safe operation. With no errors, both Aleks and Stanislav explained the 125 items to check for safety on their tractor-trailer combination vehicle.

This current cohort of CDL/ESL students from Iraq, Moldova, Romania, Russia and Ukraine all leave Bates with their Class A and Class B CDLs—and improved English skills because of English as a second language instructor Beth Prevo.

Since 2008, Bob and Beth have successfully taken groups of students from multiple countries of origin and worked with them to create effective learning communities. The integrated learning outcomes of this CDL/ESL program include Washington Adult Learning Standards and relevant professional-technical skills standards. 

Other employees who have been instrumental in creating this unique learning environment are Ramon Burton, opportunity grant specialist; Mike Brandstetter, dean of general education and basic studies; Jim Field, career advisor; Kris Manning, executive dean of instruction; and Pavel Samoylenko, associate financial aid officer.

Article submitted by Beth Prevo and Bob Gunter.

Dental Assisting students help at Dental Health Day

On Children's Dental Health Day on Saturday, Feb. 5, Dental Assisting students helped give dental screenings, emergency treatment to children in need, cleanings and fluoride applications to more than 300 kids at the South Hill Mall.

"My students were able to assist the dentist, face paint, and be a rover to assist children to the dental van," said instructor Patty Reno. "The students did great as usual! I am very proud of them!"

The students especially enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to work alongside a dentist. "[It] was a great hands-on experience...[it] warmed my heart to help children keep smiling," said student Nichole Potter.

Tina Milton helped with face painting and enjoyed seeing the smiles on kids' faces when she was done. "It was an awesome experience," she said. "The dentists, hygienists and assistants all worked well together to make the event a success."

The free event coincided with National Children's Dental Health Month, a month-long awareness campaign about the importance of oral health, especially in children.

[Students who participated were: Brandy Bruzas, Misty Frey, Mousie Fuiava, Tanya Gotay, Sara Hoffman, Tatiana Maple, Tina Milton, Melissa Piedra, Nichole Potter, Rachelle Rutland, Kassy Schultz, Athena Thomas, Hollie Watts]

Two employees earn master's degrees

Veta Paget, human resources generalist,
and Kathy Flores, ASG/diversity coordinator
A special congratulations goes to Kat Flores, ASG/diversity coordinator and Veta Paget, human resources generalist, for earning their master's of science in human resources in December. The duo took courses in tandem through Chapman University for the past two years. This fall, they sat through an intensive comprehensive exam as a final step to earning their degree.

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Kat and Veta!