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SGTS earns John Deere “College of Tomorrow” Gold Level

AMERICUS — South Georgia Technical College’s John Deere TECH program earned “The College of Tomorrow Award” from the John Deere Company recently.  The award will be presented to South Georgia Tech officials at the college’s next John Deere TECH Advisory meeting. South Georgia Tech received the second highest national ranking of Gold.
The award serves as a ranking system for the 21 colleges in North America that offer a John Deere TECH program.  There are 16 John Deere Tech programs in the United States and five in Canada.   The program evaluates several areas of the program including Facilities and Image, Processes, and Training.
“This is a huge accomplishment and South Georgia Technical College should be proud,” said Jenni Badding, Manager College Partnerships for John Deere Agriculture & Turf, Region 4.  “South Georgia Tech has shown a commitment to the success of the program and its’ students.”
South Georgia Technical College and John Deere Company partnered together in August 2014 to provide potential John Deere Technicians with a comprehensive two year associate degree in Agricultural Technology and the career of a lifetime.   After completing its first full year and prior to even hosting its first graduating class from the program, South Georgia Tech was recognized for having the second highest ranking in the country.
“I would like to extend congratulations to SGTC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. John Watford, his Academic Deans and our John Deere instructors for their hard work in getting this program off to such a good start,” said South Georgia Tech Acting President Janice Davis.  “Retired President Sparky Reeves had the insight to see the value that this program could provide and now our faculty and staff are showing John Deere why we are successful in creating business and industry partnerships as well as providing quality graduates to fill their workforce needs.”
Dr. John Watford thanked Jenni Badding and the John Deere Dealers from the southeastern area of the United States for their support of this program and for their help with getting this program off the ground in less than six months from the time the partnership agreement was signed.
“We are very appreciative of John Deere and the dealers for their support of South Georgia Technical College and this Agricultural Technology program,” said Dr. John Watford.  “We value this input from John Deere and to realize that we were only three points shy of the Platinum designation will encourage us to strive harder to become the best program in the nation.”
Jon Donnelly and Matthew Burks are the two Agricultural Technology John Deere TECH instructors at South Georgia Tech.  The initial class of John Deere TECH students are scheduled to graduate in December 2015.
The John Deere TECH partnership allows students interested in pursuing an associate degree program in Agricultural Technology at South Georgia Technical College to partner with John Deere agriculture and turf equipment dealers across the Southeastern portion of the United States for a career as a John Deere technician. Students, must be sponsored by a dealer to enroll in this program.
The Agricultural Technology curriculum addresses the full range of technological advances in agricultural mechanization, focusing on both John Deere’s Agricultural and Turf Equipment product lines. Students learn about diesel engine systems, powertrains, hydraulics, machine setup and adjustment, as well as high-tech AMS electronics, schematics and diagnostics computers. Students also gain practical experience and expertise working with the computer-assisted resource materials used throughout the John Deere service network, such as Service ADVISOR. The program also emphasizes communication skills and other non-core disciplines essential to a successful career in Ag service.
Students attend classes at South Georgia for eight weeks each semester and then serve an eight-week internship at their sponsoring dealer.  Students are enrolled in general education courses and as well as specialty classes.
Students utilize John Deere equipment, training components, and computer diagnostic tools to understand what makes equipment run.  This program provides students with the instructional knowledge needed as well as the hands-on knowledge and skills to be successful in this career.
Studies indicate that there is a critical shortage of technicians in this field and the John Deere TECH partnership helps satisfy this need. John Deere dealers prefer to hire John Deere TECH students as they already have a detailed understanding of John Deere equipment and bring with them John Deere certifications in electrical, hydraulic and Service ADVISOR™.
The South Georgia Tech – John Deere partnership is just another great example of how industry and educational institutions can work together to provide a strong educational background and the trained technicians needed across the country.
For additional information on the new John Deere TECH partnership and Agricultural Technology program at South Georgia Technical College, please contact the college at 229-931-2068 or on the web at www.southgatech.edu.