Inspiring the next generation to consider working toward a career within the agriculture equipment industry can be a challenge. However, a joint industry initiative led by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Ag Sector Board aims to change that fact by increasing the number of equipment-specific courses taught in high schools today with the help from ag teachers, to help expand awareness of and enthusiasm for the equipment manufacturing industry.
With help from the Equipment Dealers Association and Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association, 36 educators from 12 states were awarded partial scholarships for certification in equipment courses starting this summer. The courses, offered through the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (C.A.S.E.), will qualify teachers to begin teaching the courses this coming fall with the potential of reaching over 1500 students in the 2019-2020 school year.
“By leading a teacher scholarship program in partnership with Equipment Dealers Association and Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association, we have a greater opportunity to help make students more aware of and excited about the opportunities on the equipment side of the Ag industry,” said Curt Blades, senior vice president of Ag services at AEM.
The teacher certification initiative is just one piece of AEM’s broader, comprehensive workforce development initiative crossing the agriculture equipment and construction industries.
“When farmers and ranchers need specialized equipment designed to address their unique local conditions, they look to shortline manufacturers for timely, innovative and affordable solutions,” said Vernon Schmidt, executive vice president of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association. “That drive to deliver innovation requires new generations of skilled workers. We are thrilled to be part of this effort that will ultimately lead to more young professionals ready to design, engineer and manufacture the specialized farm equipment required to meet the always evolving needs of farmers.”
To emphasize local workforce development, AEM, FEMA and EDA members located near the scholarship recipients have an opportunity to connect directly with the ag teachers and their students. Manufacturers and dealers are encouraged to bring the teachers and students to their facility for hands-on experiences beginning this fall. This supports long-term relationship building with the teachers and the students and develops a sustainable grassroots effort to increase the number of qualified service technicians and technologists entering the workforce.
C.A.S.E. is a multi-year approach to agriscience education with rigorous educator training requirements and hands-on, inquiry focused learning activities for students. While C.A.S.E. currently offers ten courses, the Agricultural Power and Technology and Mechanical Systems in Agriculture prepare students for the wide array of career opportunities in agricultural engineering. Students are immersed in inquiry-based exercises that emphasize the math and science of agricultural mechanics and engineering.
Organizations wishing to contribute or match a teacher scholarship, which currently covers about half of the teacher’s total certification expenses, should contact Brian Voss with AEM at 414-298-4108.