A new facility at Parkland College in Champaign will train students to become service technicians for farm equipment made by AGCO.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place on Thursday to mark the beginning of construction for the AGCO Training Center. Rain stopped long enough for Parkland and AGCO dignitaries to turn over dirt with ceremonial shovels. And Parkland president Pamela Lau tried her hand at operating a backhoe marketed under the Massey-Ferguson brand.
Georgia-based AGCO donated $5 million for the construction of a 20,000-square-foot building on the Parkland campus.
When it opens in the fall of 2024, the building will house a two-year associate degree program to train new service technicians for AGCO dealerships. The local dealerships will sponsor the students. In addition, the training center will provide a new home for Parkland’s existing training program for current technicians.
“Our expert faculty will develop students— most of whom have never worked full-time— into competent service technicians,” said Lau, “and will work together with AGCO dealers to make sure they will reach levels of both technical mastery and essential workplace skills.”
Ash Alt, the Aftersales Training Manager for AGCO North America, says the company expects to need 2,000 new technicians over the next five years.
“It’s a hard thing to do right now, finding a valuable, experienced technician,” said Alt. “So if you can educate the youth to become service technicians, it’ll (fulfill) a huge need to the industry.”
Parkland College offers a dealer-sponsored training program for students aiming to become Case New Holland service technicians. While this program doesn’t have a dedicated building like the AGCO program, classes take place in the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center. The AGCO Training Center will be built adjacent to the Noel Center.