Can you dig it?

Explore the field of heavy equipment operation and maintenance while in high school! Watch the video or scroll down to learn more.


Local 49 has partnered with Minnesota Virtual Academy to offer the Operating Engineers Pathway to high school students.

Pathway info booklet

The pathway highlights:

  • Students will be offered semester based online courses for Operating Engineer readiness:
  • Construction Explorations
  • Basic Grade & Construction Math
  • Basic Construction Equipment Fundamentals
  • Basic Maintenance of Mobile Equipment
  • Opportunities for students to visit the Local 49 Training Center in Hinckley, MN and have access to the mobile simulators.
  • Students will receive credit towards Local 49’s Apprenticeship Program based on number of pathway courses completed.
  • Access to career counseling and guidance into the Operating Engineer field for apprenticeships.
  • Students participating in the pathway will take a series of classes that will prepare them to enter the Operating Engineers Apprenticeship program.Students may enroll in 1 or more courses offered.  They are not required to commit to all courses offered and can be enrolled based on skill and educational level.  These courses have flexible schedules to allow the students to be concurrently enrolled in their regular courses at their brick and mortar school.

Detailed Course Descriptions

Construction Explorations

This course provides students with an introduction of the basic equipment used in the construction industry. Students learn about basic equipment operations and job responsibilities. This course prepares students to use concepts pertaining to safety, maintenance, mathematics and communication that Operating Engineers may experience.

Basic Grade and Construction Math

In the construction industry, grading is the work of ensuring a level base, or a grade with a specific slope. Grade construction work is needed in almost any building project, from laying a building foundation, to landscaping, or even roadwork. In this course, you will be introduced to core equipment used in the staking process, as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used in the construction industry. Communication processes used in the construction industry for interpreting and setting grade are also an important part of this course. Finally, you will learn mathematical concepts related to the construction industry for grade staking.

ALV Basic Construction Equipment Fundamentals

In the construction industry, the proper use of heavy equipment is necessary to ensure quality work and a safe work environment. In addition being able to recognize and determine the use of specific heavy equipment, will create a more efficient work team. Heavy equipment is used in almost any construction project, from building a house to excavating for a new road. In this course, you will be introduced to core equipment used by operating engineers, as well as their maintenance needs. Communication processes used by operating engineers, rigging and signaling practices, safety awareness and mathematical concepts related to the construction industry are also covered.

ALV Basic Maintenance of Mobile Equipment

This course focuses directly on maintenance of mobile equipment through a series of engaging tutorials. A major focus of the course is on maintenance safety including such topics as LOTO. Other topics include tools and fasteners, preventative maintenance principles, engines, intake and exhaust, fuel systems, coolant systems, filters and filtration, lubrication systems, hydraulics, electrical systems, tires, and tracks and undercarriages.

How to Apply

In Minnesota:

1) Go to and create an account.

2) Enroll your student in Destinations Career Academy at Minnesota Virtual Academy

3) Under Student Detail in the application, select Part Time for the question: Is the student enrolling for Full or Part Time status?

4) Complete Admissions forms and you will be prompted to provide Compliance Item: MNVA Part Time Forms.

5) Print form. You must have your student’s school complete the form.

6) Submit the MNVA Part Time Forms to Dale Moga via email or by fax 1-507-896-3068

Click here for more information on MNVA website. 

In North Dakota:

Email Ronda Schauer at


In Minnesota: Email

In North Dakota: Email Ronda Schauer at

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