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Agriculture program offers opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’

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Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding encouraged young Pennsylvanians to apply for an Agriculture Equipment Service Technician Apprenticeship where they’ll earn a paycheck while they learn hands-on skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Pennsylvania will face more than 1,000 job openings in the field by 2030, as current farm equipment mechanics and service technicians retire.

“Feeding the future means we need a new generation of Pennsylvanians to enter the agriculture industry today,” said Redding. “Apply to be an apprentice – you’ll never be without work and you can be confident you’re choosing a career that’s making an impact in your community and the world.”

The Agriculture Equipment Service Technician Apprenticeship was developed to train more than 1,000 Pennsylvanians to repair and maintain diesel machines, hydraulic systems, and electrical and system controls along with global positioning and information systems and other emerging technologies. The program is sponsored by the Northeast Equipment Dealers’ Association. The program features both a traditional apprenticeship program and a pre-apprenticeship program. Because these programs are competency-based, these programs offer flexibilities for individuals who enter the program with pre-existing skills.

Individuals can test into more advanced levels of the program or have the opportunity to focus their training on mastering more advanced skills and programming, should they have already mastered entry-level competencies.

Applicants to the program are accepted year-round and there are no pre-requisites for eligibility other than an interest in agriculture and technology.

Apprentices will earn pay while they complete their 4,000 hours of on-the-job training. As a competency-based program, students must demonstrate their mastery of skills ranging from interpersonal communication and critical thinking to material fabrication and welding.

Apprentices who successfully complete the program will receive a U.S. Department of Labor certification as an Agriculture Equipment Technician, without the time and debt of a formal college education, and are guaranteed to be paid $17.25/hour for their first job out of the apprenticeship. An average salary ranges from $40,000 to $60,000 annually, depending on skill and ability.

Learn more about the program or apply online by visiting the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association website.


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