August 2014

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August 2014 | Construction Equipment Distribution | www.cedmag.com | 47 Workforce Development in Action methods with fellow instructors." Bullock's AED-accredited program offers students the opportunity to learn proper procedures for servicing, maintaining and repairing all parts of diesel equipment utilized in farming, construction and trucking industries. The ISU program is designed to provide graduates with skills and training that qualify them to work as diesel technicians. Conference presentation and break- out session topics included workforce development, grants and other fund- ing sources, recruiting instructors and accreditation application activities. "We believe one major benefit of the conference was bringing accredited college program directors together with representatives of non-accredited colleges and those seeking accreditation," said Rebecca Lintow, AED Foundation manager of Sales and Develop- ment. "Because of a growing need for well qualified tech- nicians in the equipment distribution workforce, there's room for growth of AED Accreditation. Interested colleges attending the conference were able to observe the NDSCS AED Accredited program and interact with instructors." Paul Anderson, manager of Product Support Develop- ment at Ziegler CAT, Minneapolis, Minn., also participated in the conference. He says his company is in the process of adding their fifth AED accredited school. Ziegler CAT is one of the largest Caterpillar dealers in North America, selling and servicing CAT construction, paving, forestry and mining equipment as well as CAT trucks, generators, and industrial engines. In the agricultur- al market, Ziegler represents Challenger, AGCO application, and Lexion machinery in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri. If they meet accreditation requirements, their new school will utilize matching grant money from the Caterpillar Dealer Excellence Fund. "Being AED accredited is one of the measurements for participating in this fund," Anderson said. "Presently, we draw 80 percent of our interns from those accredited schools. Hearing what other dealers and schools are doing to promote our industry was probably the most valuable conference take-away for me. It helps to confirm that we're leading the way and are headed in the right direction based on what others are doing now." Solving a Crisis Educating the workforce of the future was a main confer- ence topic because the construction equipment industry is facing a critical shortage of available service technicians qualified to perform maintenance and repair on highly sophisticated construction equipment. "Each year, AED-accredited college programs graduate more than 600 well-educated and qualified entry-level technicians," Johnson said. "However, that alone won't meet the growing need foreseen in years ahead." Equipment dealers know securing qualified technicians is one of their most crucial needs. The accrediting process begins with local groups of AED members – dealers and manufacturers – as well as local colleges that work together to ensure middle school and high school students are aware of equipment industry career opportunities. Together, the local business-college teams provide second- ary students with tools to explore those possibilities and recruit them into college diesel technology programs. "Today's colleges have financial challenges the equip- ment industry can assist with," Johnson said. "Those resources include equipment and parts donations, teaching aids, technical references and recruitment assistance." (continued on next page) A little friendly North versus South bags competition (or Cornhole as they say in the South). Pictured are: South Georgia Technical College playing against Montana State University and College of Western Idaho. Attendees are already asking for a tournament at the next Instructors Conference. Instructors explored Bagg Farm in Wahpeton, N.D., America's only restored Bonanza Farm. In the 1870s these types of farms performed large-scale operations, mostly growing and harvesting wheat. The tour ended with a home-cooked meal by farm volunteers.

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