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Dinner for 1st John Deere TECH agricultural technology graduates held at SGTC

AMERICUS — John Deere corporate officials and dealers from across the Southeastern United States hosted a special dinner for the first graduating class of John Deere TECH students who received an associate of applied science degree in agricultural technology at South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) on Dec. 15 in Americus.
Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Gretchen Corbin was the keynote speaker at the college’s fall commencement ceremonies for the first class of the John Deere TECH graduates.
The 13 students and their families who were honored at the dinner prior to the graduation ceremonies included individuals from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Maryland. John Deere officials who attended the dinner and graduation celebration included Jenni Badding, Manager College Partnerships for John Deere Agriculture & Turf; Bob Cunningham, Division Customer Support Manager for John Deere Agriculture & Turf; and Territory Customer Support Managers from John Deere Agriculture & Turf, Bert Bagley, Davie Bostic, and Keith Rowland. Josh Griffin, Service Manager of Flint Ag and Turf in Pelham, was also in attendance.
The first class of the John Deere TECH graduates from SGTC  included: Andrew Vestal Arnold III of Americus; Matthew Taylor Brown of Leesburg, Jonathan Garrett Bullington of Albany, Johnny Alvin Crozier III of Morris, Walter Karl Dockery of Broxton, Moises Duarte of Warner Robins, Dylan Chance Lyons of Gibson, Zach Melton of Parrott, Michael T. McCook of Pelham, Matthew Eric Miller of Street, Md; Mark Aaron Nelson of Foley, Ala.; Corey Christian Palmer of Lake Butler, Fla.; and Thomas Walker Willis of Meigs.
The dinner was held in the Betty Deriso Pope Teleconference room in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the SGTC campus.
SGTC Acting President Janice Davis, Vice President for Academic Affairs John Watford, Ed.D., Academic Dean David Finley, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird, and John Deere TECH agricultural technology instructor Matthew Burks were at the ceremony to welcome the John Deere TECH students and their families and the John Deere officials.
SGTC 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, SGTC was recognized with John Deere’s “The College of Tomorrow” Gold Level Award, which is the second highest ranking in the country.
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.
The John Deere TECH partnership allows students interested in pursuing an associate degree program in agricultural technology at SGTC 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 SGTC 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 their 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 more information on the new John Deere TECH partnership and agricultural technology program at SGTC, contact the college at 229-931-2068 or on the web at www.southgatech.edu