Education for Technical Applications in Agriculture
This project aims to advance national interests in health, prosperity, and welfare by educating high school students in technologies used in modern farming equipment and operations. These technologies include geospatial technologies, robotics, electronics, sensors, and computer controls. The agricultural equipment industry has a significant shortage of qualified technicians trained to manufacture, use, and maintain modern equipment. To address this agricultural technician workforce gap, the project plans to develop a partnership among community college and secondary school faculty, and equipment manufacturers and dealers. This partnership will collaborate to develop and implement a secondary school curriculum and faculty professional development initiative for technical agricultural education. The resulting courses will be designed for dual enrollment credit at high schools and colleges. Secondary students who complete the credential and earn college credit will be prepared to move seamlessly into an agricultural technician training program at partnering colleges or directly into the agricultural technician workforce.
The primary goal of the project is to build a secondary school agricultural technician program that focuses on skills and knowledge that are directly relevant and transferable to higher education and to agricultural technician careers. The partners, led by AgCentric at Central Lakes College and the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE), include Northland Community and Technical College, Ridgewater College, and industry collaborators. These partners will leverage their resources and experience to ensure this project meets industry, student, and faculty needs in agricultural technician education. The project intends to have a national reach, through developing course content that links agricultural science with complex mechanical systems. The curriculum will be written, field-tested, and revised following the CASE model, which is based on evidence and current pedagogical approaches. The project evaluation will measure the progress of curriculum development and implementation, hypothesized student outcomes of increased college and workforce preparation, and impacts on the agricultural technician workforce. A culminating feature of this project will be the development of an industry-recognized credential that will help further the college, career, and workforce aspirations of secondary and post-secondary students.