Ag equipment dealer recognized for apprenticeship program

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ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. — During Agriculture and Food Careers Week in Pennsylvania, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recognized Messick’s Farm Equipment in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, as one of the nation’s largest sources of agriculture equipment parts, and a critical element of the region’s growing agriculture production infrastructure.

Redding joined the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association to announce a new program that will help sustain industry growth by allowing the state’s equipment dealers to provide a career pathway from high school agriculture mechanics programs to apprenticeships with dealers.

Redding recognized Messick’s role with other equipment dealers in Lancaster County, including Deere Country, Binkley and Hurst, and Hoober’s, in supporting the development of the original apprenticeship program approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry in 2017.

Educational program

Apprenticeships offer non-traditional training, with technicians hired by a company to participate in a structured educational program including on-the-job training, classroom and online training. In the program announced today, students will get credit toward apprenticeship requirements for work they do in high school agriculture mechanics classes.

Up to one-third of the training can be completed before they are hired as apprentices. Dozens of young people can participate in pre-apprenticeships and then compete for eight-12 annual apprentice slots with Lancaster County dealers.

The expectation is that the program will grow quickly throughout the commonwealth and help meet the needs of the state’s agriculture producers.

“As we look toward the future and envision what agriculture will look like ten, 20, or even 100 years from now, we must marry our current needs with the needs we anticipate,” said Sec. Redding. “These apprenticeship programs fill a critical void by not only preparing today’s students and workers, but inspire future generations to pursue careers in the agriculture industry.

Preparing for jobs

PAsmart is a first-of-its-kind $30 million investment that creates new opportunities for workers to help them prepare for the in-demand middle class jobs of today and the future.

To learn more about the Planting the Seed initiative, visit agriculture.pa.gov.

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