South Georgia Tech earns John Deere “College of Tomorrow” Gold Level

December 16, 2016
Shown above are Jenni Badding of John Deere, (c) presenting the John Deere Gold Award to SGTC President Dr. John Watford (second from left). Also shown are SGTC Academic Dean David Finley (l) and Wayne Peck and Matthew Burkes, SGTC Agricultural Technology Instructors.
Shown above are Jenni Badding of John Deere, (c) presenting the John Deere Gold Award to SGTC President Dr. John Watford (second from left). Also shown are SGTC Academic Dean David Finley (l) and Wayne Peck and Matthew Burkes, SGTC Agricultural Technology Instructors.

Americus, GA – South Georgia Technical College’s John Deere TECH program earned “The College of Tomorrow Award” from the John Deere Company recently. The award was presented to South Georgia Tech officials at the college’s John Deere TECH Advisory meeting. South Georgia Tech received the second highest national ranking of Gold for the second consecutive year.

The award serves as a ranking system for the 21 colleges in North America that offer a John Deere TECH program. There are 16 John Deere Tech programs in the United States and five in Canada. The program evaluates several areas of the program including Facilities and Image, Processes, and Training.

“This is a huge accomplishment and South Georgia Technical College should be proud,” said Jenni Badding, Manager College Partnerships for John Deere Agriculture & Turf, Region 4. “South Georgia Tech has shown a commitment to the success of the program and its’ students.”

South Georgia Technical College and John Deere Company partnered together in August 2014 to provide potential John Deere Technicians with a comprehensive two year associate degree in Agricultural Technology and the career of a lifetime. After completing its first full year and prior to even hosting its first graduating class from the program, South Georgia Tech was recognized for having the second highest ranking in the country. South Georgia Tech earned that same distinction for the second consecutive time in 2016.

“I would like to extend congratulations to SGTC Vice President of Academic Affairs David Kuipers, his Academic Deans and our John Deere instructors for their hard work and dedication to making this program such a success,” said South Georgia Tech President Dr. John Watford. “Retired President Sparky Reeves had the insight to see the value that this program could provide and now our faculty and staff are showing John Deere why we are successful in creating business and industry partnerships as well as providing quality graduates to fill their workforce needs.”

Dr. John Watford thanked Jenni Badding and the John Deere Dealers from the southeastern area of the United States for their support of this program and for their continued support of South Georgia Technical College and its students.

“We are very appreciative of John Deere and the dealers for their support of South Georgia Technical College and this Agricultural Technology program,” said Dr. John Watford. “We value this input from John Deere and we will continue to work towards becoming the best program in the nation.”

Matthew Burks and Wayne Peck are the two Agricultural Technology John Deere TECH instructors at South Georgia Tech.

The John Deere TECH partnership allows students interested in pursuing an associate degree program in Agricultural Technology at South Georgia Technical College to partner with John Deere agriculture and turf equipment dealers across the Southeastern portion of the United States for a career as a John Deere technician. Students must be sponsored by a dealer to enroll in this program.

The Agricultural Technology curriculum addresses the full range of technological advances in agricultural mechanization, focusing on both John Deere’s Agricultural and Turf Equipment product lines. Students learn about diesel engine systems, powertrains, hydraulics, machine setup and adjustment, as well as high-tech AMS electronics, schematics and diagnostics computers. Students also gain practical experience and expertise working with the computer-assisted resource materials used throughout the John Deere service network, such as Service ADVISOR. The program also emphasizes communication skills and other non-core disciplines essential to a successful career in Ag service.

Students attend classes at South Georgia for eight weeks each semester and then serve an eight week internship at their sponsoring dealer. The program is approximately two years in length and graduates receive an Associate of Applied Science in Agricultural Technology degree. Students are enrolled in general education courses and as well as their specialty classes.

Students utilize John Deere equipment, training components, and computer diagnostic tools to understand what makes equipment run. This program provides students with the instructional knowledge needed as well as the hands-on knowledge and skills to be successful in this career.

Studies indicate that there is a critical shortage of technicians in this field and the John Deere TECH partnership helps satisfy this need. John Deere dealers prefer to hire John Deere TECH students as they already have a detailed understanding of John Deere equipment and bring with them John Deere certifications in electrical, hydraulic and Service ADVISOR™.

The South Georgia Tech – John Deere partnership is just another great example of how industry and educational institutions can work together to provide a strong educational background and the trained technicians needed across the country.

For additional information on the new John Deere TECH partnership and Agricultural Technology program at South Georgia Technical College, please contact the college at 229-931-2068 or on the web at