MTI approved for farm power programThe South Dakota Board of Education approved Monday the implementation of a new program next fall at Mitchell Technical Institute.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
The South Dakota Board of Education approved Monday the implementation of a new program next fall at Mitchell Technical Institute.
The board gathered at MTI’s south campus for its November meeting, after which the board toured the facility.
MTI proposed a farm power technology two-year program to provide skilled workers for farm equipment dealerships.
The program will train students for entry-level positions. Existing agricultural courses will play a significant role in the program, pushing students forward to work at businesses that build, service and sell farming equipment.
“It’s a growing industry,” said Mark Wilson, director of the office of learning and instruction at the South Dakota Department of Education.
“It’s a good opportunity for Mitchell Tech to utilize existing programs for some of the course work and to provide specific training for an area of need.”
MTI President Greg Von Wald said the program will provide many with good careers and skills, even to take back to the family farm.
For the last two years, ag equipment dealers have been corresponding with MTI about starting this type of program, because there is a shortage of farm equipment mechanics, Von Wald said.
According to the proposal, students will gain skills in repair, diagnostics and troubleshooting while taking classes in electronic controls, GPS, hydraulics, harvesting equipment, service management and customer service, among others.
A projected budget for the 2012-13 academic year is $183,500, which includes $60,000 for salaries/benefits, $100,000 for equipment and $23,500 for supplies, travel and marketing.
The budget is expected to decrease by $15,000 in 2013-14 due to lower equipment costs.
Although the program is projected to begin in the fall of 2012, Von Wald said there is a possibility of delay due to lack of space. If that happens, the program will start in 2013 after the construction of MTI’s trades building is complete.
The state board also approved the continuation of the teacher education unit and program at Dakota Wesleyan University for the next seven years. It is reviewed every seven years, according to Steve Fiechtner, with the state Department of Education. The board reviewed DWU’s teacher preparation unit and program this fall. The summary of the program review shows effective programs, including many with 100 percent pass rates on advanced tests, Fiechtner said.
The education unit summary states DWU’s program met all standards with only one recommendation to make better use of data for program improvement.