CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A new building broke ground on Thursday that will prepare Parkland College students for work in a skilled trade.
The building will be called the Parkland-AGCO Agricultural Education Building. It’ll be a training center for students that want to develop their technician skills. AGCO is a growing agriculture company that now is partnering with the Parkland College to add a new building on campus.
Manager of Technical Training Ash Alt said this is exciting for students, technicians and companies in the industry. It’s their way of getting more techs in the business.
“Technicians from all over the country are going to come into Illinois to get trained by my team on how to diagnose and repair the machinery,” Alt said. “But the exact same time, we have a brand new pipeline of new technicians. High school kids from all over the country are going to come here to learn how to become a future technician.”
The building cost $6 million, with AGCO donating $5 million. The goal is to get college freshmen and companies to collaborate and understand the value of being a technician.
“We’ve got to find a way to help more kids from all over the country understand there’s a big demand for this skilled trade,” Alt said.
President of Parkland College Pamela Lau said to think of it as an apprenticeship. Every student will be supported by a company while they go through the two-year program.
“While the student is studying their opportunities for part time work with the employer, and as they go back out to do work experience, opportunities to do part time work, they are paid while they are going through school,” Lau said.
She said the program is in high demand and hopes the new building will help it grow.
“There’s a lot of excitement because until this program gets off the ground, AGCO company doesn’t yet have a service technician program specific to their branded equipment.”
This isn’t a new concept to the college. Lau said they have done something similar with the Ford Asset Program.