Members and manufacturers told us having a fully staffed service department is often, if not the major factor, limiting a dealership’s ability to grow, increase market share and profitability. Simply put, the key to a successful dealership is directly proportional to their ability to secure repeat sales. Those repeat sales depend on a mutually beneficial customer relationship and the key to that relationship is a dealer’s ability to provide service after the sale!
Knowing that well qualified technicians aren’t easy to find and that today’s agriculture depends on equipment NEDA, with help and support from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, developed and registered an agricultural equipment technician apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs.
Both apprenticeship programs are competency-based. Subject matter experts (SME) from our founding dealers identified the skills/competencies a journeyman agricultural technician would need to work effectively and efficiently on the shop floor. That list of skills/competencies then became the foundation for our apprenticeship program. Knowing where we wanted our apprentices to end up enabled us to “work backwards” and organize the apprenticeship into four levels. Each level incorporating new skills/competencies as well as enhancing those previously mastered.
In order for an apprentice to graduate to the next level they must successfully pass both written and hands on validation tests developed by industry SMEs, administered either at your dealership, a school or other facility by NOCTI, an independent third party highly regarded for their integrity, professionalism and ability to “measure what matters.”
Primary responsibility for recruitment of apprentices lies with participating dealerships. The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) have built an outstanding recruiting tool/resource which will help dealers organize/build their dealership’s outreach and recruitment program. It can be found at https://www.equipmentdealer.org/workforce-development-toolkit/.
In support of the program NEDA will promote apprentice opportunities on our website, social and industry media, solicit teachers and guidance counselors, conduct outreach to veterans’ groups and other groups. Manage state reporting related to the apprenticeship programs. Identify and develop educational providers and opportunities in support of participating dealers and apprentices.
Dealers are encouraged to contact and recruit local teachers and arrange for shadowing opportunities at their dealerships. Shadowing gives local educators a practical professional development experience that involves shadowing dealership technicians. Through this opportunity, educators will gain insight into the modern day practices of equipment dealerships and subsequently will be better equipped to educate their students on the skills required to enter the agricultural workforce. Students will ultimately have a better understanding of the profession and its benefits, creating a pipeline leading to better technicians for dealerships in the future. In an effort to encourage shadowing opportunities for teachers, NEDA has developed documentation for use by teachers, administrators and dealers in support of those opportunities. Please click the link an print a copy for your use.
- Maintain a current membership in NEDA
- Conform to Apprenticeship DOL regulations
- Provide effective and supportive mentorship maintaining a ratio of no less than 5 journeyman to 1 apprentice
- Maintain a safe work environment
- Offer apprentices opportunities to grow professionally and personally
- Organize work to maximize both learning opportunities and productivity
- Ensure monthly tracking reports are completed
- Support related education opportunities
- Clear, effective and timely communication with the apprentice(s) and program administrator
Each apprentice or pre-apprentice will be assigned a login and password to their portal on this website. The apprentice/pre-apprentice will have primary responsibility for maintaining their portal.
Participating dealers, mentors and for pre-apprentices their related education providers may also be provided access to their sponsored participants portal the for the purposes of tracking and verification of reporting hours worked, competencies mastered, completion of course work, posting micro-credentials and other related certifications.
Ag Educators Equipment and Technology Professional Development Program
Having developed and implemented an apprenticeship program with NEDA, the Ag Educators Equipment and Technology Professional Development program focuses on giving local secondary school-based agricultural educators a practical professional development experience that involves shadowing dealership technicians. Through this professional development opportunity, educators will gain insight into the modern day practices of equipment dealerships and subsequently will be better equipped to educate their students on the skills required to enter the agricultural workforce. Students will ultimately have a better understanding of the profession and its benefits, creating a pipeline leading to better technicians for dealerships in the future.