Mike Rowe Visits DFW to Celebrate HOLT CAT’s $1 Million Commitment to Skilled Trades Educational Programs Across Texas



B50CA41D-F9B1-45CE-88B7-65FDACC784C4 76D25CF5-13C6-4CFD-8C6E-7E7D79864E0A EDAC8D87-543C-4775-B203-E343822AF2FEPep Rally at Dubiski Career High School in Grand Prairie Honors Students in Vocational Education Tracks; Highlights Value of Public-Private Training Partnerships

HOLT CAT®, the Caterpillar® Equipment and Engine dealer for South, Central, North and North East Texas, today pledged $1 million to support the workforce in “trading UP for a better future” with trade-skills and technical training across Texas over the next three years. The commitment will provide select Texas high schools and technical colleges with funding and resources for job skills training in industries looking to hire.

To mark the commitment and celebrate skilled trades training education, host and executive producer of “Dirty Jobs” and the new series on CNN called, “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” Mike Rowe joined Grand Prairie ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Hull and HOLT CAT and Caterpillar officials for a pep rally at Dubiski Career High School in Grand Prairie. In addition to the $1 million commitment to vocational education and training in Texas, HOLT CAT presented the Dubiski School of Transportation $10,000 through the CAT Dealership Excellence Fund, which supports classroom guidance materials, equipment purchases and other materials to further technical training and education at the school.

Mike RoweMike Rowe began working with Caterpillar several years ago around the joint interest of driving skilled workers into the American workforce. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation was created to “campaign for hard work and skilled labor,” and applauds schools like Dubiski Career High School that are geared toward giving students training at the primary level that can help them in their future career paths. During the pep rally, Rowe fired up the students and encouraged and praised the value of old-fashioned hard work. The students also presented him with a gigantic banner with all 1,500-plus student signatures committing to Rowe’s S.W.E.A.T. Pledge, “Skilled and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.”

Dubiski and HOLT CAT first formed the “trading UP” internship program in 2012 to offer junior and senior students world-class mentoring with paid internships to learn about repair and maintenance of heavy equipment, including hydraulics, electronics and diesel engines.  Interns graduate from Dubiski with the basic skills to join the workforce as entry-level heavy-equipment technicians.

“Texas depends on skilled trades to get big projects done, and HOLT CAT needs skilled techs,” said J.K. Baxter, HOLT CAT Senior Vice President and General Manager, Machine Division. “By partnering with Dubiski Career High School and other Texas schools, HOLT is investing in the future of individual students as well as the economic well-being of the state.”

“We are proud of the partnership we have with HOLT CAT,” said GPISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Hull. “Our students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience while still in high school before transitioning to great jobs after high school.”

HOLT’s unique internship program with Dubiski has boosted opportunities for youth interested in a career in the skilled trades by giving them access to industry-leading technical training and real-life on-the-job experience. Ten recent Dubiski graduates are currently full-time HOLT CAT technicians and seven current students are completing the internship program with HOLT. Since 2012, more than 80 percent of the Dubiski student internship participants have been offered full-time positions with HOLT CAT.

About HOLT CAT®

Left to right: Eric Hermann (Caterpillar Houston District Manger), Peter John Holt (HOLT CAT Vice President of Power Systems Division Commercial Engine Sales), Rick Elmore (Director, School of Transportation, Dubiski Career High School), JK Baxter (HOLT CAT Senior Vice President and General Manager).

Left to right: Eric Hermann (Caterpillar Houston District Manger), Peter John Holt (HOLT CAT Vice President of Power Systems Division Commercial Engine Sales), Rick Elmore (Director, School of Transportation, Dubiski Career High School), JK Baxter (HOLT CAT Senior Vice President and General Manager).

HOLT CAT® sells, rents and services Caterpillar machines, engines, generator sets and trucks in a 118-county Texas territory spanning from the Red River to the Rio Grande. HOLT offers total machine and engine rebuild capabilities, sells used equipment around the world and fabricates its own line of land clearing equipment and HOLT Spray King® water tankers. HOLT is the dealer for Link-Belt Cranes in the Eastern half of Texas as well as the El Paso area. They are the dealer for AGCO/Challenger and Claas farm equipment for the Eastern half of Texas and portions of Arkansas and Missouri.

The Holt name has been associated with heavy equipment and Caterpillar for more than 100 years. Peter M. Holt, Chief Executive Officer of HOLT CAT, is the great-grandson of Benjamin Holt, who in 1904 developed the first successful track-type tractor which he named the “Caterpillar.”

About Dubiski Career High School

Mike Rowe with Dubiski Tech StudentsJohn A. Dubiski is a GPISD public high school of choice with a focus on equipping students with the skills they need for 21st century professions.  The five Schools within Dubiski are aligned with the U.S. Department of Labor Career Clusters. Students choose a sequential course of study designed to prepare them for a 2 year or 4 year college or enter the work force with a license or certification. Dubiski offers a variety of graduation degrees.  www.gpisd.org/dubiski

About mikeroweWORKS

As part of Mike Rowe’s “PR campaign for hard work and skilled labor”, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation was established to provide tool stipends, help fund scholarship programs and support other initiatives that reinvigorate trade school enrollments and industrial arts programs around the country.  It has awarded over $3MM in “Work Ethic” Scholarships to students pursuing an education in the trades. Mike’s website, mikeroweWORKS.com, focuses on all the issues related to the widening skills gap, aging workforce, high unemployment and millions of unfilled jobs.

It also provides comprehensive resources for anyone looking to explore those vocations, as well as continue to focus the country on the real dilemmas facing our trade workers, miners and farmers. www.mikeroweWORKS.com

Wells Fargo Reports: New Home Sales Surge in August to Six-Year High

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoNew home sales spiked 18 percent in August to a 504,000-unit pace with upward revisions to previous months’ data. Much of the increase was concentrated in the Northeast and West. Inventories also rose.

New Home Sales Reach Highest Level Since 2008

 New home sales posted a stronger-than-expected reading in August, jumping 18 percent. The increase was largely due to

sizeable gains in the Northeast and West, which increased 29.2 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Upward revisions to data in the three previous months were a welcome surprise and should alleviate some of the worry around the slower housing recovery. Inventories are up 16 percent over the past year.

New Home Sales Activity Should Continue to Improve

 With sales showing strong gains in the highly-priced Northeast and West, average home prices increased during the month.

Median home prices, however, followed the trend in other price measures, falling 1.6 percent in August. Today’s report corroborates the solid gains in builder sentiment over the past three months. Our outlook remains unchanged for the housing market, and we continue to expect a gradual improvement.

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Wells Fargo Reports: Existing Home Sales Post Surprise Dip in August

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoExisting home sales fell 1.8 percent in August, with a modest downward revision to the previous month’s data.

Despite the decline, underlying data suggest a continued normalization in the housing market.

Downside Surprise in Existing Sales

  • Existing home sales slipped into negative territory in August, following four months of gains. Although the decline was much weaker than expected, the underlying data suggest the housing recovery is still making positive strides. Distressed sales comprised only 8 percent of the total sales compared to 12 percent one year ago. All-cash transactions fell 6 percentage points to 23 percent as investors are less active in the market.

First-Time Home Buyers Still Missing in Action

  • The share of first-time homebuyers remained unchanged at 29 percent in August, but is a tad higher than its year-ago reading.

With household formations below its long-run trend and many young adults still choosing to rent, we will likely not see any meaningful increase in activity until next year. On a regional basis, sales in the South and West fell during the month. Median and average home prices moderated for the second month.

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Wells Fargo Reports: Housing Starts Plunge in August, but Weakness Expected

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoHousing starts plummeted 14.4 percent in August, following an upward revision to the previous month’s data.

The volatile multifamily component fell a whopping 31.7 percent, while single-family was down 2.4 percent.

Starts Drop in August

 Housing starts came in much weaker than expected, posting the sharpest monthly drop since April 2013. Although single-family and multifamily starts fell in August, the weakness was largely due to the volatile multifamily component. August’s drop follows an upwardly revised 22.9 percent increase in July.

 Overall, starts fell in every region, but single-family starts rose in the Northeast and South during the month.

Permits Weak, but Overall Momentum Unchanged

 Permits fell 5.6 percent in August, also with broad-based weakness. Despite the decline, the level of multifamily permits are running ahead of starts, which suggests we could see improvement in this component in the coming months. However, the recent moderation in apartment demand suggests we could be reaching a peak. Year-to-date single-family permits in August are still about the same level as last year.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces 72 TIGER 2014 Recipients
Demand Demonstrates Need for Greater Transportation Investment through GROW AMERICA Act

header-DOT_700x90[1]U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Department of Transportation would provide $600 million for 72 transportation projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia from its TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2014 program.

The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013.  Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9 billion for needed transportation projects.

“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Secretary Foxx.  “We’re building bridges from Maine to Mississippi.  We’re creating ladders of opportunity for the middle-class and those seeking to enter the middle-class by investing in transit, road and rail projects from Los Angeles to Detroit to New York City, increasing access to jobs and quality of life.  For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.”

Projects funded through this round of TIGER support several key transportation goals: 

Improving Access to Jobs and Creating New “Ladders of Opportunity:  Americans are increasingly challenged by longer travel times, which take away from time on the job and at home.  For those looking for work, unpredictable travel times can make finding work and keeping a job even harder.  This round of TIGER invests in projects designed to cut down on travel times, increase predictability and, in some cases, attract new middle-class jobs into communities.  Examples include:

  • A $24.9 million investment in the construction of a 7.6 mile bus rapid transit line in Richmond will connect transit-dependent residents to jobs and retail centers as well as spur mixed use and transit-oriented development in a city with the highest poverty rate in Virginia.
  • A $15 million TIGER grant will develop a new bus rapid transit spine for Omaha, Neb., dramatically reducing travel time to major employment hubs in the city.  Roughly 16 percent of the households within a quarter of a mile of the proposed bus-rapid transit route do not currently have access to a vehicle.
  • A $20 million TIGER grant will pay for the modernization of Boston’s Ruggles Station, which will include the construction of a new 797-foot long, 12-foot wide high-level passenger platform between the Ruggles Station headhouse and Northeastern University’s Columbus Avenue parking garage.
  • A $10.8 million investment in the Wando Welch Terminal Rehabilitation project in South Carolina will help make structural repairs, strengthen the berth, and make related paving and safety improvements. The TIGER funding will also be used for the installation of jacket repairs for damaged piles.

Reversing neglect by repairing U.S. infrastructure, enhancing quality of life and commerce:

  • The New Route 47 Missouri River Bridge Project will replace the decaying, 78 year-old Route 47 Deck and Warren Truss Bridge over the Missouri River in Washington, MO. A $10 million TIGER grant will be put to use to ensure this vital community and economic link continues to serve not only the people of Franklin and Warren Counties but the region as a whole.  With the bridge nearing the end of its useful life, its age and condition create an on-going need for maintenance, resulting in substantial expense to taxpayers and inconvenience to the public. The project includes doubling the travel way from 22 feet to 44 feet, removing the overhead truss, widening the shoulders and adding separated bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
  • The Three County Roadway Improvements Program will move forward thanks to a $17.9 million TIGER grant that will help Claiborne County, Mississippi improve motor vehicle transportation reliability and safety in an economically-disadvantaged rural region by creating a fully-connected and safe county transportation system that allows direct movement of citizens and goods from rural areas to local economic points of interest.

Supporting Game-Changing Local Initiatives: The $25 million TIGER grant for the Vision Zero project will bolster New York City’s multi-agency plan to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by redesigning intersections near schools, creating safer pedestrian access to transit and fill a major gap in the city’s protected bicycle lane network that will connect lower-income communities to industrial zones.

Helping communities plan for the future:  An example of a project that is utilizing innovative methodologies to plan for the future is the Land Use Connections for Sustainable Schools project in North Texas that will create a program and implementation plan for a regional working group to promote multimodal transportation options to schools, advance long-term planning for school siting, improve transportation safety near schools and encourage coordination between local governments, independent school districts, and transit agencies within the 12-county area for resource efficiency and sustainability.

The GROW AMERICA Act would authorize $5 billion over four years for much-needed additional TIGER funding to help meet the overwhelming demand for significant infrastructure investments around the country and provide the certainty that states and local governments need to properly plan for investment.  The $302 billion, four year transportation reauthorization proposal would provide increased and stable funding for the nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems without contributing to the deficit.  The GROW AMERICA Act also includes several critical program reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal highway, rail, and transit programs.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – including 117 projects to support rural and tribal communities. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country.  Congress provided the most recent funding as part of the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, signed by President Obama on January 17, 2014.

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants.

Click here for additional information on the GROW AMERICA Act.