INA, Ill. – The Rend Lake College Foundation recently received another great piece of training equipment for the college’s mining technology program, thanks to the team effort of Allen Trucking owner Russell Allen, American Coal Company and White Oak Resources General Manager of Operations Steve Rowland.
Allen, an RLC alum and avid supporter of the college and Foundation, contributed two shield support systems for students to use in the college’s training program. A shield is an automated piece of equipment that uses hydraulic lifts for roof support. Its development revolutionized fully-automated longwall mining operations, not only from a production standpoint, but regarding the health and safety of miners as well.
Terry Wilkerson, chairman of RLC’s Applied Science and Technology Division, said a majority of the training equipment being used in the program has been gifted by strong supporters like Allen and Rowland.
“Once again our mining program finds an opportunity to get its hands on some great training equipment because of the awareness and consideration of our friends in the industry,” said Wilkerson. “Our students are very fortunate to have these individuals in their corner and I’d like to think employers see these donations as an investment in their future employees.”
In late February, Allen said American Coal Company told him the shields were being obsoleted and that he could take them away.
“They are not junk,” he explained. “They were tested at the mine and they raised up. All you have to do is plug them in and they’ll work for you. I asked Steve [Rowland] if the college might want them.”
Rowland, who sits on the Rend Lake College Foundation Board of Directors and has been the catalyst in securing multiple pieces of training equipment for the program at RLC, contacted Hall.
“Because of the diligence of the individuals and companies toward securing these pieces of machinery for the program, students at RLC are able to get hands on training that simply isn’t available elsewhere in the area,” said Hall. “We thank Allen, Rowland and White Oak Resources for their support of the Foundation and college.” said Shawna Hall, CEO of the RLCF. “Their continued commitment to the education of RLC students has become an essential component in the quality of our training programs.”