CAMP RIPLEY - The Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning snowplow operator training at Camp Ripley.
More than 200 snowplow operators will complete an intensive training program Oct. 30 to prepare them for the worst road conditions a typical Minnesota winter has to offer, MnDOT reported.
MnDOT's snowplow operator training program, known as SPOT, features two separate two-week sessions that highlight a variety of safety measures, plowing techniques and best practices. The sessions provide trainees with updates on new equipment, policies and procedures related to winter highway maintenance operations.
"Both sessions are taught by skilled MnDOT employees and offer an effective way to meet short-term training needs that will lead to long-term improvements," said Steve Lund, MnDOT's state maintenance engineer in a news release. "It is important that we take the necessary amount of time to educate snowplow operators so we can provide the best possible service to motorists."
MnDOT maintenance supervisors and other staff provide hands-on training and share their experience and insights with the trainees.
"Most of the trainees are new MnDOT employees and it is mandatory for them to attend one of the two-week sessions," said Rick Shomion, a trainer with MnDOT. "It is essential that we not only educate the drivers, but give them the opportunity to demonstrate their operator skills under real and simulated conditions."
In addition to new MnDOT employees, MnDOT veterans who want to improve their skills and snowplow operators from township, city, county and tribal governments also participate.
SPOT began in 2004. When the current session ends on Oct. 30, MnDOT will have trained nearly 800 snowplow operators at the training facility at Camp Ripley.
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