John Deere Tech Program Gets New Digs

If all goes as anticipated, the recently moved John Deere Tech Program at Fort Scott Community College should have all parts of the facility completed in December.

The facility is located at 2223 S. Horton, formerly the Kansas National Guard Armory.

“They are building a bigger shop for big machinery,” Kent Aikin,  one of the program’s two instructors, said Wednesday.  A second instructor is Dale Griffiths,  hired around one month ago.

The building being constructed is just to the east of the current tech program facility. The general contractor for the project is Tri-State Building, Pittsburg.

The current building is used for instruction on smaller machines and classrooms, Aikin said. The instructor’s offices are housed in this building as well.

The  auditorium of the current facility is used for instruction on smaller engines.

“John Deere sends us three to six machines every year, for training purposes,” Aikin said.

Renovation of the current building started a month ago with the addition of new air lines and electrical lines.

Even though all is not completed in the facility, classes began in August with 13 first-year students and 10 second-year students.

Three first-year John Deere Tech Program students work on lessons in a classroom Wednesday.

Students who fulfill all requirements for the program have options of electrical, hydraulic or service advisor certification.

The program’s students must be sponsored by a John Deere dealership, and go through an interview process, Aikin said.

Aikin and Griffiths help the students through the whole process.

“We help locate a dealership to sponsor them,” Aikin said.

“There is a high demand for these jobs,” Aikin said. “The job prospects are good. I’d say over 90 percent have a job waiting for them.”

The move from Frontenac to the repurposed facility on the FSCC campus was precipitated by the selling of the building they were leasing, FSCC Director of Public Relations Heather Browne said.

Students have more accessibility for living in the dorms now,  Browne said.

They also have easier accessibility for completing their general education classes, Griffiths said.

An open house for any interested students will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, November 2 and 8 a.m. to noon, Friday, November 3.

Following completion of the new part of the facility in December, a grand opening for the public will be in February, Aikin said.

A whole power-train for a John Deere 8300 tractor is used in instruction during the tech program.





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