Attention High School Students:
Your Path to a Career in the Skilled Construction Trades Starts Here

Contact an Enrollment Specialist

Interested in the opportunity to earn high school, college and/or apprenticeship credit while still in high school?

Contact an Enrollment Specialist

Want to attend hands-on learning events and get behind the controls of heavy equipment to see if a career with the operating engineers is for you?

Contact an Enrollment Specialist

What is Operating Engineers Pathway?

Operating Engineers Pathway is a training program that offers online classes for Minnesota public high school students, grades 9-12, to prepare for a career as a heavy equipment operator.

Participants are taught by skilled teachers, introduced to hands-on training events, and have access to industry networking opportunities.

Students will receive high school credit and are eligible for college credit with North Hennepin Community College and apprenticeship credit with the International Union of Operating Engineers’ apprenticeship program.

It is free to students, and they will receive access to career counseling as they learn.

How does it work?

The Pathway Program is a joint partnership between the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 has partnered with Minnesota Virtual Academy and Stride Career Prep.

Participants are offered online courses through Minnesota Virtual Academy’s digital platform, where they have the opportunity to take four different, one-semester online classes. Students may enroll in one or more courses and can be enrolled based on skill and educational level.

The online courses offer flexible schedules, allowing students to remain enrolled at their brick-and-mortar schools while exploring a potential career opportunity.


Click on each question below to learn more.

How do these courses fit with students’ existing schedules?2024-05-24T14:39:16-05:00

Students can remain enrolled in their local school while taking Pathway classes.

Participants can join live online class sessions with direct access to Pathway instructors. If they can’t participate live, all classes are recorded for students to view later.

Courses are designed to fit within any student’s schedule, allowing students enough time to complete assignments on time, no matter what time of day they take a class.

How does the program affect the student’s school district?2024-05-24T14:39:16-05:00

Taking a course has no budgetary impact on the local school district, provided the student passes the course.

Upon a student’s successful course completion, the district is fully reimbursed for the cost.

How does a student apply?2024-06-05T16:31:53-05:00

Click here to request contact from an enrollment specialist.

Forms for students and parents to fill out will be provided, as well as a form for a school counselor from the student’s home district.

Email with questions.

Course descriptions

Click on each course below to learn more.

Construction Explorations2024-05-24T14:39:28-05:00

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 Math2024-05-24T14:39:27-05:00

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 to 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.

Basic Construction Equipment Fundamentals2024-05-24T14:39:26-05:00

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.

Basic Maintenance of Mobile Equipment2024-05-24T14:39:25-05:00

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.

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