Pratt Community College ag students benefit from collaboration with area implement dealers
The Agriculture Technology program at Pratt Community College has a 100-percent job placement rate, and that's just something that happens by accident.
Instructor Ralph Williams takes a lot of phone calls from dealerships looking for quality hires, and those calls led to relationships and regular partnerships with big-name businesses in the form of equipment use, internships and job placement in the Pratt County area and beyond.
But first things first before getting behind the wheel, Williams explains.
“Everything comes with a price as they endured a lecture over features, emissions and design features built into the engine to meet tier 4 final regulations as applied to new engines. We touched on drive features of the tractor part and head for the unit. Then we got to drive.”
Williams’ Ag Machinery Operations class gives an overall view of how various machines are used in modern agriculture work, their basic design and getting to operate those machines whenever possible.
“The goal is to expose students to equipment serviced in ag dealerships as much as possible before the first internship. KanEquip Pratt generously allowed us to use a new round baler in the Fall of 2020 which paired well with our old but operable swather owned by Ag Power. This fall, they had the new swather available and let us break it in. Manager Rodney Walker and crew are quite helpful toward Ag and Ag Power.”
KanEquip employs a PCC Ag Power graduate at their Ottawa location, and a freshman intern at the Pratt location. Several other dealerships in the Pratt area are on board with contributing to diesel tech training as well.
“Kincheloe’s and BTI are helpful with equipment as well, loaning equipment as they can. Kincheloe’s have an alumnus from some years back as a technician and have allowed internships. BTI has an alumnus from Ag Power employed for over 10 years. Morgan Diesel has a current sophomore as an intern and cooperate with the loan of an irrigation engine with electronic controls. Morgan Diesel is part of our Advisory Board along with Richard Dugan, corporate recruiter for KanEquip. Volunteer member is Mark Fincham, Heartland Family Farms with valuable input from the ag dealer consumer view-point.”
Ag instructor Barrett Smith was also present, supervising test-drives and educating students over the functionality of specific equipment as it applies to field work. He views program partnerships as a benefit to the students and dealerships.
“This gives KanEquip the opportunity to interact with students in Ag Power and Agriculture by finding students that might fit them, and it helps with KanEquip being on the advisory council to give pointers to students and help with ideas/issues in the field.”
Other industry businesses the PCC Ag Power program has partnered with in the form of equipment use, internships and job placements include Prairieland Partners, Foley Caterpillar, Bumper to Bumper, Kansas Department of Transportation, Carrico Implement, The Wrays LLC, Berry Companies, Andale Construction, New Holland, Case IH, Agco, American Implement and more.