This is the kind of initiative that needs to be copied and implemented, and also networked with other similar programs. Here’s what I’m talking about: the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) have taken on the challenge of inspiring young people to consider careers in equipment manufacturing.
AEM’s Ag Sector Board is increasing the number of equipment-specific courses being taught in high schools to bring about a greater awareness and excitement for the equipment manufacturing industry. The strategy being used, with help from the EDA, is targeting teachers.
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The two associations have awarded 32 educators from 15 states partial scholarships for certification in equipment courses starting this summer. The courses are offered through the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) and will qualify teachers to begin teaching the courses in the fall. That should reach more than 2,200 students during the 2018–2019 school year.
In a press release, Curt Blades, the senior VP of Ag Services at AEM says, “By leading a teacher scholarship program in partnership with Equipment Dealers Association, we have a great opportunity to help make students more aware of and excited about the opportunities on the equipment side of the Ag industry. AEM is fully committed to workforce development and we are proud to help provide 32 teachers the training that will help them fully engage their students in the opportunities available in agriculture.”
According to the AEM, since the launch of the CASE curriculum, more than 2,500 teachers have already been certified to teach its classes. The problem is only about 90 of those more than 2,500 certifications are in equipment-specific courses. That’s why the AEM and EDA are offering the new program, in order boost that number.
Joe Dykes, the VP of industry relations for the EDA, says of the EDA’s Equipment Dealers Foundation, “Sponsoring scholarships for teachers is consistent with one of the Foundation’s most important goals, workforce development. The specific programs we’re sponsoring are aimed at closing the skills gap, or the gap between supply and demand for equipment technicians—a major issue in our industry right now.”
Teachers will spend 80 hours working through nearly every lesson in the yearlong curriculum and learn how to deliver lessons in an inquiry-based way that will shift focus in the classroom from teacher-led to student-directed learning.
I realize this is an Ag industry based program, but the way I see it, the more skilled men and women that are out there…the better it is for ALL industries, including dirt moving.