John Deere is doing its part to combat the growing shortage of trained equipment technicians in the construction industry by donating a new skid-steer loader to Wake Technical College in Raleigh, N.C. The skid steer will be torn down and rebuilt by students to help them learn the inner workings of the machine and how to repair and maintain it.
The machine donation is part of an ongoing partnership John Deere has built with Wake Technical College, says Richard Park, manager, construction and forestry technology, John Deere. “We partner with the college on its C&F technology degree program,” he says. “This partnership entails various means of support, including significant monetary donations from the John Deere Foundation, as well as engines and equipment. We also assisted with building the school’s state-of-the-art training facility.”
Students who participate in Wake’s C&F technology program work toward a two-year associate’s degree focused on expertise in diagnosing and repairing construction equipment, heavy-duty trucks, agricultural equipment and lawn and turf equipment. The college recently received accreditation by the Association of Equipment Distributors, making it one of 13 accredited colleges of its type in the country.
Because of this, and its relationship with John Deere, Wake attracts students from all over the world, says Ron Lowe, department head and instructor of the school’s heavy equipment and transport technology department. “We have one student coming from Zimbabwe and another young lady from New York,” he notes. “Our graduates go on to successful careers at heavy equipment dealerships, working for construction contractors or independent service centers and other businesses that use these types of machines.”
A strong relationship with the school’s local John Deere dealer led to the partnership program. Continued support from the company has allowed the college to expand its curriculum and degree offerings. “The program is unique in that it’s one of the few manufacturer-backed programs in the country,” Park says. “And we’re proud to have a continuing impact on providing future technicians for the construction industry.”