The third graduating class from Minnesota LTAP’s Roads Scholars Program was honored at the Spring Maintenance Training Expo held in St. Cloud in April 2008. Graduates were on hand at the expo to receive their diplomas and discuss the benefits of the program.
Nearly 1,800 students across the state are enrolled in the Roads Scholar Program, which combines training options such as maintenance expos and LTAP workshops into a structured curriculum. Graduates earn a valuable professional development credential.
Graduate Todd Bullock, a highway maintenance worker from Scott County, says the LTAP Roads Scholars Program helped him understand many of the other fields involved in public works. “The LTAP classes have given me a basic knowledge of some of the other areas of highway road maintenance and construction,” he said. “At first, I thought that many of the LTAP Roads Scholars classes did not apply directly to my field. However, the personal interest was there to not necessarily learn for myself but to learn what other areas of public works do.” Six other Scott County employees also completed the program this year.
Recent graduate Jeff Adolphson said the program helped him understand tools and best practices for engineering and maintenance. “It has also helped me to encourage progressive changes that are needed to balance cost, environmental impact, and safety within the highway department and for the road users, "said Adolphson, who works as an assistant county engineer for the Wadena County Highway Department.
Graduates are required to complete eight credits in the Roads Scholar Program. Students complete their requirements through a series of LTAP workshops, maintenance expos, and Circuit Training and Assistance Programs (CTAP) workshops.
Many of the graduates said the classes taught skills that are useful in their day-to-day activities. According to Gary Haugen, a highway maintenance supervisor from Big Stone County, the Roads Scholars Program was an excellent way to expand his knowledge and keep up with new innovations in road and bridge maintenance. “The workshops gave me an opportunity to not only learn from the instructor, but to discuss road maintenance with people from around Minnesota,” said Haugen. "I came away with something I can take back and use to be more efficient in my day-to-day maintenance activities.”
Graduate and City of Prior Lake public works technician Joe Wiita also said the program helped him with his daily duties. “The Roads Scholar Program has been very rewarding for me personally, and the information I have obtained from this program has helped me with my daily activities at the City of Prior Lake,” Wiita said. “Not only were the classes very rewarding, but the opportunity to converse with other agencies and learn what tools and maintenance activities have worked or not worked for them is very useful.”