(WBRE/WYOU-TV) A new program was introduced today as part of Governor Wolf’s “Jobs that Pay” program.
Wolf administration officials introduced a new apprenticeship program to prepare Agriculture Equipment Service Technicians  by developing hands-on skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

 Pennsylvania will face more than 1,000 job openings as current Farm Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians retire by 2027.

“This apprenticeship program exemplifies Governor Tom Wolf’s commitment to providing career pathways to prepare students for STEM careers that pay,” said Agriculture Executive Deputy Secretary Michael Smith, in a prepared release.

“As Pennsylvania’s leading economic driver, agriculture offers a full range of meaningful careers. The Agriculture Equipment Service Technician apprenticeship program gives young people the opportunity to earn while they learn in their own communities.” noted Deputy Secretary Smith,

Roughly 997 farm equipment mechanics and service technicians currently work in Pennsylvania, but many of these skilled workers are expected to retire during the next decade.

The Agriculture Equipment Service Technician apprenticeship was developed to train more than 1,000 Pennsylvanians to repair and maintain electronics, global positioning and information systems, and other emerging technologies.

“The Agriculture Equipment Service Technician apprenticeship was created to fill a workforce need identified by local businesses,” said Department of Labor & Industry’s Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani.  

The Northeast Equipment Dealers’ Association will sponsor the program, which will require at least one year to complete. Five regional equipment companies – original equipment manufacturer New Holland Agriculture, and equipment dealers Binkley & Hurst, Deer Country Farm & Lawn, Hoober Inc., and Messick’s Farm Equipment – have agreed to hire and provide mentors to train the apprentices. The mentors ensure that the classroom training is applied on the job.

Learn more about the department’s work to support the agriculture industry at agriculture.pa.gov.