Due to the demand of service technicians for irrigation systems, Reinke Manufacturing, of Deshler, has partnered with the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) in Curtis to create an irrigation technician training program.
Ken Goodall, regional sales director for Reinke, was responsible for spearheading the program along with Ron Rosati, NCTA dean, and Scott Mickelsen, NCTA associate dean. The program has been several years in the making and this semester, the first students will graduate from the program.
The training is referred to as an area of concentration: more than a certification program but not a degree.
“There’s a huge need across the industry for service personnel,” said Goodall. “We try to recruit dealers across the country and they always ask where they can find service personnel. One option is to hire someone and train them which takes longer. [We can] shorten that process and have students go through intensive training for just nine months.”
Reinke is an international, leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation systems and parts.
NCTA, a two-year college, is a branch off the University of Nebraska – Lincoln that is, according to their mission statement, “devoted to a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology, food and related industries.”
According to Goodall, the demand for service technicians is so high right now that a student could tell Goodall where he wanted to live and Goodall could find him a job anywhere in the U.S.
“We have 200 plus dealerships and I bet we could employ 200 service techs tomorrow,” said Goodall.
While in the training program, students learn everything from structural to electrical to controls to wiring and “everything it takes to work on center pivots,” said Goodall.
The program will be beneficial to both dealerships and students.
“With a dean scholarship and matching funds by Reinke and a host dealership, kids could go to NCTA with full ride and come out with a guaranteed job,” said Goodall.