Northwest John Deere tech program wins award

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2016

By LaJuan Tallo

Northwest Mississippi Community College

Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Agricultural Technology/John Deere Tech program recently was evaluated as a part of John Deere’s “College of Tomorrow” (COT) assessment. Northwest received a platinum award, which is the highest rating a program can receive.

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Agricultural Technology Instructor Perk Johnson explained that the COT assessment is done in every school that has a John Deere Tech program.

“John Deere has a proud image of what it does, how it trains students and what comes out of their programs. I think it is important to note that our program has to not only meet the state’s standards, but John Deere’s standards as well, ” Johnson said.

The program was evaluated in several areas, including instructor development, internships, dealer advisory board meetings, student numbers, facilities and image, processes, scholarships and safety.

“One of the most useful tools we have in this program is our internship program,” instructor Shane Louwerens said.

John Deere dealers find the students in their hometowns or high school programs and employ them for the summer before they come to Northwest. If the students show aptitude and a willingness to work, the dealer will sponsor them for Northwest’s program by helping pay for their schooling. Some of the dealers even have recruiters on their staff to bring students into the program.

Northwest students are in a unique setting. Northwest is the only college that has a John Deere Pro-Tech training facility on its campus. Instructor Jeremy Massey explained that because classes are being taught to John Deere dealers and employees by John Deere Pro-Tech instructors at Northwest, the equipment needed for the classes are already at Northwest. With more equipment for ag-tech students to work on, they get much more “hands-on” experience than other students would.

“The in-field training and hands-on labs we have and are able to offer these students makes the difference in this program,” Massey said.

Northwest’s Ag-Tech/John Deere program is an instructional program that prepares individuals to select, operate, maintain, service, and use agricultural power units, machinery and equipment. Included is instruction in engine design, use, maintenance and repair techniques. The program covers internal combustion engines service and overhaul, electrical systems, hydraulic systems, power trains, air conditioning, grain harvesting equipment, spray equipment, row crop planting systems, cotton harvesting equipment, hay harvesting equipment compact engines equipment servicing, cutting and welding and service repair center management and operations. The Associate of Applied Science degree may be granted to students who complete the curriculum.