Association Joins National Effort to Build Workforce for Farm Equipment

With support from this Association, partial scholarships have been awarded to 36 teachers who are seeking certification to help prepare students for careers in equipment manufacturing. The teachers, who come from a dozen states, have the potential to reach more than 1,500 students next school year with a message of the opportunities in the farm equipment industry and the skills needed for success.

The scholarship awards are part of a joint industry initiative that includes this Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Ag Sector Board and the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA).

Participating teachers will take classes this summer through the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (C.A.S.E.), a multi-year approach to agri-science education with rigorous educator training requirements and hands-on, inquiry-focused learning activities for students. C.A.S.E. currently offers ten courses, including the Agricultural Power and Technology (APT) and Mechanical Systems in Agriculture (MSA), which prepare students for careers in agricultural engineering. Students are immersed in inquiry-based exercises that emphasize the math and science of agricultural mechanics and engineering.

During the C.A.S.E. Institute, teachers will spend 80 hours working through nearly every lesson in the yearlong curriculum and learning how to deliver those lessons in a fashion that will shift focus in the classroom from teacher-led to student-directed learning.

Member companies located near schools where scholarship recipients teach can connect directly to the educators and their students and cultivate relationships that could strengthen the pipeline between school and workforce.

Vernon Schmidt, executive vice president of the Association, said contributing to the scholarship fund was the right move for members and the industry.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) manages the CASE initiative. To learn more about CASE, visit www.case4learning.org.