John Ruan Foundation Makes Major Donation to DMACC

Posted 2/6/2017

New​ Ruan Transportation Virtual Driving Center Announced.​​​

The John Ruan Foundation has made a $100,000 donation to Des Moines Area Community College's (DMACC) Transportation Institute to purchase a new, advanced driving simulator. The first check for $50,000 arrived this week with the remainder coming this Spring.

The new simulator will join another version currently being used in a classroom suite that will now be called the "Ruan Transportation Virtual Driving Center."

“On behalf of the students, faculty and instructors of the DMACC Transportation Institute, we are very grateful for this generous gift from the Ruan Foundation," said Rob Denson, President of DMACC. “John Ruan was a leader and innovator in the transportation industry. He knew the importance of skilled, well-trained drivers. This donation will contribute to Mr. Ruan's legacy and help us prepare the next generation over the road drivers."

Similar to the technology used in jet airplane simulators, the John Ruan Foundation gift will go toward purchasing a new semi-truck driving simulator that offers all the instruments, look and feel of a real semi.

“We want the student's experience in these simulators to be as close to actual driving as possible," said Scott Ocken, Dean of Industry and Technology, who also oversees the Transportation Institute. “The simulator is part of a larger effort across the College to bring technology into the classroom. The result is our students will learn better and faster. They will be work-ready on graduation day."

Ocken said semi-trucks are a very cost effective mode of transportation and their use across the country continues to grow.  As a result, there is a critical shortage of truck drivers.

“Once our students graduate from DMACC's Transportation Institute, they are almost guaranteed a job. It's not uncommon for our Transportation Institute graduates to earn $50,000 in their first year," said Ocken.

The simulators will be used in tandem with driver training in DMACC semis on the 10 acre concourse outside the facility. The students learn in teams of four. So, one team will be on the simulators while another will be practicing in the trucks.

The DMACC Transportation Institute is located at 2081 NE 54th Avenue in Des Moines The facility currently graduates 200 students a year and offers classes both during the day and at night.

The Ruan donation is part of the College Foundation's DMACC Delivers major gifts campaign that started in 2015. To date, the DMACC Foundation has raised 91 percent of its goal of $50 million for new DMACC facilities and scholarships.​

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