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Cali Owings, Published September 12 2013

NDSCS to partner with John Deere, RDO for diesel technician program

WAHPETON, N.D. – Starting next fall, the North Dakota State College of Science will offer a specialty program to train students to service John Deere construction and forestry equipment, officials announced Thursday.

The program – a partnership between the school, RDO Equipment Inc. and John Deere’s construction and forestry division –aims to provide equipment-specific training for students in the college’s diesel technician program.

John Deere is providing training equipment for use in NDSCS classrooms as well as instructor training.

RDO Equipment Co. will recruit and sponsor diesel technology students and also provide part-time work during school at equipment dealerships and internships in the summer.

Representatives of the partnership said they could not pin a dollar amount on the ongoing investment in the initiative.

Private partnerships provide opportunities that public funds can’t, said NDSCS President John Richman.

“You can’t expect state funding to support the kind of dollars it takes to have this kind of technology … and to keep that technology new and up-to-date to train our students,” Richman said.

NDSCS is one of eight schools in the nation offering this specialized John Deere construction and forestry equipment training program.

It’s similar to the other specialized programs in the diesel technology department sponsored by Case IH and Caterpillar.

Graduates of the two-year program will leave with an associate in applied science degree and opportunities to work servicing the John Deere equipment at RDO dealerships.

The partnership is the latest investment in diesel technology education at NDSCS.

This fall, the school opened the doors of its newly expanded Bisek Hall, which houses the diesel technology program. The $10.5 million 65,000-square-foot expansion provides classroom and lab space, including four new shops.

The added space allowed the school to increase enrollment in the program by 20 percent, said Terry Marohl, the department’s chairman. He said there are about 300 students in the diesel technology program this fall and classes are full. He said there’s still growing demand for diesel technicians.

“[The initiative] fills a critical need in this industry, especially in our region, by generating quality technicians,” said Jeff Kraft, division manager for John Deere.

Students said they were excited about the partnership because they would have access to the latest technology in the field.

“The industry is ever-changing,” said Tom Haberman, a first-year diesel technology student from Barney. “There are always going to be advancements and other opportunities.”

John Brielmaier, another first-year student, from Mankato, Minn., said he was excited about the John Deere technology demonstrated at the school Thursday. Technicians demonstrated how they could diagnose equipment problems remotely using wireless technology.

Brielmaier and Haberman and other first-year diesel-technology students can apply to the program and be among the first to receive the training when it begins next fall.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599