Conestoga news

February 21, 2008 2:16 PM

BLM Transportation Donation Advances Skills Education

Future economic progress and prosperity depend on skills education - developing excellent programs of instruction appropriate to employers' needs and goals.

Polytechnic institutions such as Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning seek corporate partners and supporters to guide this process, and Conestoga has found a partner in BLM Transportation Group of Kitchener.
BLM has multiple locations in Canada and the United States, and a fleet that includes more than 170 tractors and 500 trailers. BLM specializes in the transport of electronics, office furniture, general merchandise and foodstuffs.

The company has donated more than $51,000 to Conestoga, in support of skills training associated with the truck and coach industry. Also, BLM has pledged an additional $50,000 donation.

On Wednesday, February 13 officials from BLM, Conestoga and the industry joined with motive power faculty and students at Conestoga's Guelph campus to acknowledge the company's support of truck and coach technician education, and to dedicate a classroom at the campus for use in connection with the program.

At the event, BLM Transportation Group President Jim McConnell stated, "It is our pleasure to be involved with the truck and coach program at Conestoga, which provides a much-needed supply of qualified entrants to the repair and maintenance side of the trucking industry. Our involvement and support is a means of giving back to the industry we love to be in."

John Tibbits, President of Conestoga, added, "BLM Transportation Group has stepped forward as an active, vocal advocate for the essential role of the skills training agenda in promoting current and future economic prosperity, as well as in offering solid career opportunities to young Canadians."

In the fall of 2006, Conestoga opened a major expansion to its campus in Guelph. This renovation and construction project created a larger motive power trades centre, for use by apprenticeship students in the automotive service technician program and to allow introduction of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in truck and coach technician. This latter initiative is in direct response to industry demand and is particularly suitable for Conestoga’s Guelph campus, as the area around Guelph has the highest concentration of trucking transportation businesses in Ontario.

The BLM Transportation donation aids students in two areas of their programs. One aspect is equipment for the truck and coach shop. Conestoga has been able to secure workbenches, complete with vises, for use in the shop. In addition, the donation has gone towards obtaining a number of heavy duty engine stands, which permit students safely and securely to work on large engine blocks. The shop now also has a high-quality pressure washer for use in cleaning equipment and the shop area.

Soon to be in place are a heavy-duty engine crane and a valve-grinding machine.

The donation has also made possible renovations and equipment for a classroom at the campus, for use by students in the truck and coach programs. The work on this room includes upgrades such as painting, new flooring and lighting, and a new ceiling. BLM’s donation also allowed Conestoga to obtain bulletin boards, new tables and chairs for the students, shelving and countertop units for equipment storage and demonstrations, plus instructional aids such as a lectern unit with a control panel for faculty use in connection with other new equipment - monitor, speakers, ceiling mounted video cage and digital video projector.

CONTACT: Brian Dernesch, BLM Transportation Group, 519-748-9880; Brenda Gilmore, Conestoga College, 519-824-9390, ext. 122