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Helping Schools Achieve Goals: The AED Foundation’s accreditation program for colleges is an asset to equipment technician programs and students’ education

One of The AED Foundation’s core missions is helping schools train students to become proficient diesel/equipment technicians. The AED Foundation’s accreditation program for colleges is an important means of accomplishing that goal.

Developed by teams consisting of industry stakeholders, The AED Foundation and each postsecondary school, the accreditation standards are quite rigorous and help facilitate the training of many well-qualified entry-level technicians. In order to meet the tough standards, schools typically partner with local companies.

Accreditation process a boost
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Two schools contacted by CED Magazine reported that the accreditation process is very beneficial to their equipment technician programs and to the education of their students.

“The accreditation program helps us assess the effectiveness of our program. It also helps us keep connected with what the industry needs and provides students with skills that are more in demand by the industry,” said Doug Hammond, chair of the Agricultural Engineering Technology Department; Diesel Technology; John Deere Construction & Forestry program at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cobleskill.

During the accreditation process, Hammond’s department “worked hand in hand with the industry,” including people from dealerships and corporations, reported Hammond, whose department received reaccreditation in 2014. 

“The department worked cooperatively to review the standards, map out where and how to teach different concepts, and utilize a technical assessment tool that all of our graduating students take,” said Hammond. The assessment enables the department to ensure that it is meeting the standards.

The AED Foundation Accreditation also facilitates partnerships between the school and the industry, enabling the department to leverage the expertise of industry stakeholders to hold highly successful job fairs and host prominent guest speakers, Hammond added.

Brett Reasner, Dean of the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, wrote in an email to CED Magazine that “accreditation signifies to prospective students that our curriculum, equipment, facilities and faculty credentials meet industry standards.” The accreditation also helps the department recruit students, facilitates the development of uniform courses of study, and “often leads to equipment donations … from employers,” Reasner wrote. The two programs offered by the college that have received AED Foundation accreditation focus on equipment technology, and one of the two specializes in Caterpillar equipment.

Working with stakeholders
Both Hammond and Reasner said that their departments work closely with industry stakeholders. The participation of such stakeholders in events hosted by SUNY Cobleskill has led to meaningful opportunities for the department’s students, Hammond reported. For example, each year Anderson Equipment hosts 12 to 15 of the department’s students, enabling them to gain experience in dealing with Komatsu equipment and diagnostic systems. John Deere trains the students on its products and gives them the opportunity to work in its dealership. Furthermore, SUNY Cobleskill has an “informal relationship” with Milton CAT. “We are one of the preferred schools for Milton CAT’s student co-op program,” explained Hammond, adding that participating in the co-op gives students potential employment opportunities. 

Similarly, Penn College holds career fairs twice during each academic year. “These Penn College events are typically sold out of employer space as the demand for our graduates exceeds the supply,” Reasner reported. Moreover, each student in the programs accredited by the AED Foundation is required to complete a summer internship.

“Internships are a great way for students to explore the many facets of the equipment industry and for employers to ‘test drive’ a future employee,” Reasner stated.

Alumni reap the benefits
Both departments have many successful alumni. For example, Alex Rozon, who graduated with honors from Penn College’s Caterpillar Emphasis program, works as a technician in the materials division of Allen Myers. A Marine Corps veteran, Alex is pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Applied Management online at Penn College. Alex won the mikeroweWORKS Foundation tool scholarship when he was a student at Penn. Dexter Maurer received two associate degrees from Penn College, in Diesel Technician and Heavy Construction Equipment: Technician Emphasis. He is currently putting his degrees to work as a technician with Highway Equipment and Supply. 

A student in SUNY Cobleskill’s Diesel Technology program, Kat Habib, graduated in 2014 with honors and received a tool scholarship from the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. Kat currently works as a construction equipment technician at W.I. Clark Company. Courtney Walters graduated with honors from the Diesel Technology; John Deere Construction & Forestry technician program at SUNY Cobleskill in 2013, and she also received a tool scholarship from the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. After graduating, she went to work for JESCO, her sponsoring John Deere dealership.

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