For more than 90 years, Caterpillar has contributed to the various communities where we live and work around the world. SEM, as a brand of Caterpillar, has followed that example by promoting better living environments, education, training and the general welfare in Qingzhou City, where it is located. There are about one million people in Qingzhou City, including nearly 300,000 urban residents. People from around 5,000 local families are working for SEM or its related organizations. If a family includes five or six members, that means there are tens of thousands of people living in this small city with a direct or indirect relationship with SEM. One citizen describes the relationship like this: “SEM provides us secure lives, benefiting us a lot.”
Mr. Dan Gives his Time for Charity
On the banks of the Pushui Stream, six kilometers southwest of Qingzhou City in Shandong Province, there is a place called the “Camel Mountains.” The mountains there look like camel humps stand together, filled with Buddhists and temples. At the foot of the mountain, you can see a stunning three-story building with gray-white walls. It is the newly-renovated Tuoshan Elementary School, funded by the government.
One day in October of 2016, a bus full of SEM volunteers stopped at the school. Pupils welcomed them at the gate with the greeting, “Welcome our brothers and sisters to our new school!” They stopped the chants suddenly when people stepped off the bus. A tall, smiling man started saying hello to them. The man was Dan Herkelman, then the general manager of the Earthmoving Operations Department in Caterpillar. The students gave him the nickname “the tall teacher.” Dan often travels from China to the U.S., but once he learned about the school, he decided to spend a day there.
Once in the class, Dan was excited to share new words with the students, and they were excited to share their interests with him. After class, they went to the newly-stocked library, a sight of particular interest to Dan. “My father has been a math teacher for 50 years. I also dreamed of becoming a teacher and my dream came true in a special way here. Knowledge can make your dreams come true!” The students were inspired by Dan’s words.
No Need to Line Up for Lab
SEM has always taken its social responsibility in education seriously. SEM provides professional training, employment opportunities and public hardware to cultivate technical talent in the city in which it is located.
It came to SEM’s attention that nearly 400 graduates from Weifang Engineering Vocational College annually major in fields such as Electromechanical Integration and Construction Machinery Application. Yet, practical training for those skills was still being outsourced. Caring deeply about education, SEM understood the urgent request from the college for practical training facilities. As a result, SEM built a Caterpillar Training Center and assigned experts to bolster the professional faculty and curriculum development.
The Caterpillar Training Center
Leaders of SEM and College Visit Training Center
Weifang Engineering College teachers and students were immediately impressed with the Training Center, with some exclaiming, “We don’t have to line up for a practical training class!”
Some students also said: “After a couple of classes in the Training Center, we felt it was more professional. With the advanced equipment and reasonable curriculum schedule, we are totally confident that we will get solid knowledge and be able to fully use it in practice.” The Training Center can not only accommodate 600 people taking training together, it can also meet the requirements for training on Mechatronics, Engineering Machinery Application and Maintenance, CNC, and other professional skills. Since it opened in July 2010, there have been more than 3,000 outstanding graduates from the school who are now employed in various industries.
In addition to the training for Weifang Engineering Vocational College students, the Caterpillar Training Center also provides training for other students, both domestic and international. One thousand domestic people per year can join the training class held in the center to receive the systematic education and operational training on advanced equipment. Many students from countries involved in the “Belt and Road” infrastructure construction initiative will also be training at the center as technology talents.
In return, Weifang Engineering Vocational College opened the SEM training class in 2008, providing detailed courses related to the Caterpillar Production System, 5S and 6 Sigma management. All the courses and training were aimed at providing professional talent for SEM.
Help Arrives From Overseas
During the Dragon Boat Festival in 2013, Paul Blackburn, who was then chairman and general manager of SEM, suddenly passed away. His family knew Paul and Caterpillar were devoted to public charity in China, especially when it came to education. During his lifetime, Paul often visited the Weifang Engineering Vocational College, demonstrating his love for the students there. As a worthy memorial to Paul, his family elected to donate money to the college and create the Blackburn Scholarship to inspire and assist the students who are outstanding academically, but financially challenged. The scholarship stands as a lasting tribute to Paul Blackburn’s love of Weifang Engineering Vocational College.
Chao, one of the winners of the 2017 Blackburn Scholarship, is a student who came from a farming family. Normally, his family would have been under big financial stress to support his college work. And they worried about him finding a steady job after college. But all their fears were alleviated when Chao was introduced to the SEM culture, enrolling in a SEM training class, learning the Caterpillar culture and ideas, obtaining the professional skills in the training center, winning the scholarship with a sterling academic score and getting the internship opportunity with SEM. “I would never have dreamed what has happened to me, receiving an international education in my hometown, getting the great job and even receiving the care and love from overseas. I’m grateful for Paul and his family’s donation. I will definitely work hard to contribute to the company and pass on this love to help more people,” said Chao, with full gratitude.
So far, 48 students like Chao have benefited from the Blackburn Scholarship. Starting in 2008, the college has established 15 SEM classes with more than 600 graduates. In additional to those with other majors, nearly 100 students every year are hired by SEM.
People who love and respect others will be loved and respected in return. SEM has shown its commitment to social responsibility through its actions. From 2001-2006, SEM built roads and dug wells for more than ten villages around the city, providing local residents with convenient water sources. From 2004-2007, SEM donated RMB 100,000 in the form of goods or cash to the Qingzhou Yunhe Middle School and the Dongguanhui Secondary School to improve their educational facilities. In 2008, SEM donated more than RMB 40,000 for the snow disaster in south China and RMB 803,000 for the earthquake-damaged region in Wenchuan. In 2010, SEM donated wheel loaders to the quake-hit region in Yushu in addition to RMB 501,400. In April 2016, SEM launched a program “Child Care to Special Needs in Qingzhou Special Schools.”
Since 2014, SEM, together with other Caterpillar organizations, has participated in public planting charity activities, donating more than 340,000 saplings, estimated to achieve 55,151 tons of annual carbon reduction, 38, 463 tons of oxygen release and more than 8,506 kilograms of dust retention.
Caterpillar believes the sustainable development of the communities where we work and live around the world is a responsibility and an important part of the company’s development strategy. The foundation of The Operation Strategy Seminar of SEM - “Being a Respectable Company” - is not only a promise for the future but a reflection of the past. SEM will continue its effort to provide high quality products, excellent services and the fulfillment of its social responsibilities in contributing to the sustainable development of its communities.