Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The need for ag technicians has been growing at an exponential rate as companies race toward producing the most technologically advanced machines in the world.
No longer can a technician walk in off the street or even off a job from another industry and “turn wrenches” on ag equipment without proper training, and training takes time and sometimes months or years away from home.
To address the new paradigm, Sinclair Tractor launched its apprenticeship program in 2020.
The program gives potential employees three options: attending the John Deere Ag Tech Program at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, completing a precision ag or diesel tech program at a local community college with additional on-the-job training after graduation or an in-house program that trains the employee completely on the job.
Austin McCarty is among the first to graduate from the Sinclair Tractor Apprenticeship Program.
McCarty, a 2019 graduate of the Indian Hills Community College automotive tech program, chose to attend the John Deere Ag Tech program at the community college.
"Having been through two different mechanics programs, John Deere Tech at NICC was by far the best,” McCarty said. “If you go into the program with intentions of learning and bettering yourself, this program is one of a kind.
The program is something I am proud to say I have completed and will always have under my belt regardless of where my future ends up. I am very grateful for the program."
McCarty is currently a technician with Sinclair Tractor in Fairfield and is one of four to receive their journeyman certification after earning their JDTech degree this past spring and completing all the required on-the-job training at Sinclair Tractor.
“This first class of students to complete the John Deere Ag Tech program, and the additional apprenticeship training are a huge asset to Sinclair Tractor and our ability to serve our customers,” Jeff Graff, corporate aftermarket manager at Sinclair Tractor, said. “We are always on the lookout for talented individuals who have a desire to work in agriculture and understand mechanics and technology.”
The John Deere Ag Tech program is designed to produce highly trained and certified technicians with the ability to work on all John Deere ag and turf equipment upon completion of the program.
Students also earn their electrical and hydraulic certifications.
Coursework is completed in approximately 21 months and includes rotations between classroom studies and on-the-job training at Sinclair Tractor.
Sinclair Tractor reimburses NICC graduates for their tuition over a period of three years contingent upon maintaining employment with Sinclair Tractor.
Other students to graduate and earn their journeyman certificates include Matthew Hyman of Washington, Joseph Browning of Muscatine and Colton Emery of Sigourney.