Spotlight on Accreditation & Wake Technical College

Prior to The AED Foundation’s accreditation program, no industry accreditation or certification program existed for colleges in off-highway heavy diesel equipment technology. The AED Foundation (AEDF) is the only heavy diesel, off-highway-specific accrediting body available to industry, colleges and students. AEDF-accredited college instructors are trailblazing classroom and lab innovation during COVID-19. While maintaining pre-COVID-19 classroom and lab hours, our schools have adjusted to online learning options.

The AED Foundation is providing free instructor webinars during the pandemic to facilitate the collaboration of best practices within academia. Forging partnerships between AED members, accredited colleges and the Foundation is essential for successful program accreditation. Ultimately, the instructors do the heavy lifting when it comes to adhering to the technical standards. AEDF-accredited college instructors not only legitimize our brand but also ensure student success measures via standardized testing. AEDF-accredited college curricula secure industry-ready graduates.

Wake Technical College in Raleigh, North Carolina, is an exemplary model of an AEDF-accredited program that repeatedly exhibits the traits of industry excellence.

The accurate benchmarking data for both their John Deere and general programs legitimize the value of the AEDF technical assessment. I had the opportunity to visit with Mr. Paige Kearns, professor/program director of both programs.

According to Kearns, the value proposition of AEDF accreditation is access to an advisory board comprised of AED members, university affiliates and the Foundation. This conglomerate of cross-sector partnerships facilitates cutting-edge industry innovation at the learner and institutional levels.
Representative advisory boards facilitate conversations between competing dealers to serve the best interests of the industry.

Kearns emphasized the value of AEDF accreditation at the learner level, highlighting our standardized testing and positive industry exposure as benefits to his students. The standards accurately measure student progress and streamline the influx of qualified technicians entering the workforce. AEDF schools, graduates and member dealers are the beneficiaries of inter-industry relationships backed by our accreditation process.

The demonstrable program benefits from an institutional perspective weighted in our AEDF technical standards lay the foundation for an accredited program. We all have the tools to uniformly gauge students’ strengths and weaknesses through AEDF testing in each of the six technical standards: diesel engines, electronics, hydraulics/hydrostatics, powertrains, AC/heating  and safety and administration. From a dealer standpoint, you are assured not only that your AEDF-certified technicians have the highest quality of education, but also that they have industry-uniform credentialing based in academia to back up their résumés. Although economic trends indicate an overall lull in hiring due to COVID-19, Kearns reports that “everyone is gainfully employed,” in reference to his program graduates, “while others are being sent home or furloughed and laid off.” Needless to say, AEDF-certified technician graduates have the upper hand when it comes to employment.

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