Representatives from The AED Foundation traveled to Odessa, Texas, in mid-March to meet with local dealers to discuss The AED Foundation’s goals for 2018 and to provide a status update regarding the accreditation of South Plains College. Representatives from ASCO, Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, Kirby-Smith Machinery, Yellowhouse Machinery, H&E Equipment Services and Midland College were in attendance and learned about how The AED Foundation is focused on expanding its accredited college and recognized high school programs. By the end of 2018, the Foundation plans to have 50 Accredited and Recognized programs across North America.
The trip was part of an ongoing effort by The AED Foundation to travel across North America to meet with local dealers, schools and other stakeholders, sharing with them its mission and latest efforts to improve the heavy equipment industry.
The year 2018 is shaping up to be an exciting one for The AED Foundation. Last year, the Foundation rolled out its new Technician Certification Program and this year plans to certify 300 technicians. Also new in 2018 is the Sales Manager Certification Program, which is an on-demand learning experience designed for sales leaders. The Foundation is committed to continuing to be an industry leader in delivering educational programs to equipment dealers to help improve their businesses.
Despite having the second largest population of any state in the U.S., Texas did not have any AED Foundation-accredited schools until early April, when South Plains College officially received AED Foundation accreditation. Whit Perryman, chairman of The AED Foundation and president of Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, remarked, “I’m thrilled that South Plains College has received Foundation accreditation, as it will give a boost to local dealers and provide future students with the opportunity to build a career in the heavy equipment industry. As chairman of The AED Foundation, I’m focused on expanding the number of AED Foundation accredited and recognized programs in Texas and across the United States and Canada.”
The AED Foundation’s template for accreditation is a “community-based, school-to-work” plan where local dealers, colleges and industry stakeholders work together to meet mutual needs. The Foundation also recognizes high school diesel-equipment technology programs with its AED Foundation High School Recognition initiative.
“AED Foundation accreditation for college diesel-equipment technology programs is very rigorous, and I want to congratulate the team at South Plains College for their work in making it a reality,” said Jason Blake, senior vice president of The AED Foundation. “A lot of teamwork and collaboration is required to make accreditation successful. Without the help and support of our volunteer evaluation team leaders, school partners and local AED members, accreditation would not be possible.”
AED Foundation accreditation of South Plains College is not only historic, as this is the first accredited college in Texas, but it will be of critical importance in creating a reliable pipeline of heavy equipment technicians that local dealers will depend on, especially as the Baby Boomer generation moves into retirement.
“It is an honor for South Plains College to receive AED Foundation accreditation and humbling to be the first college in Texas to receive this impressive distinction,” said Rob Blair, dean of technical education at South Plains College. “Educating students with the skills they will need to succeed in the heavy equipment industry and in a rapidly changing economy is important, and I’m proud that South Plains can be used as an example of how to achieve accreditation for other colleges across Texas.”
The AED Foundation will work with local dealers and school officials to host an official accreditation ceremony at South Plains College later this year. The Foundation started hosting official accreditation ceremonies this year at newly accredited college programs and recognized high schools to acknowledge the effort that is required to receive AEDF accreditation and to show policymakers and other stakeholders how AEDF accreditation benefits a local community.