HANCEVILLE — Orange was the color of the day Thursday at Wallace State Community College as the school announced a partnership with the Kubota Tractor Corporation.

Through the partnership, Wallace State’s Diesel Mechanics program will offer Kubota certifications through the National Coalition of Certification Centers, which works with schools and companies to prepare a curriculum that allows students to learn what they need to know so they can go work for those companies.

Students in the Kubota Tech program will learn how to inspect, diagnose and repair Kubota equipment, and will be certified in several areas, including pre-delivery and preventative maintenance inspections, electrical, hydraulics, engine and power train.

Once they graduate, students from the Kubota Tech program will have the chance to work at Kubota dealerships around the nation.

During the program’s announcement Thursday morning, Wallace State President Vicki Karolewics spoke to a crowd of students and faculty, Kubota dealers from around the state and representatives from the Kubota Tractor Corporation.

She said Gov. Kay Ivey recently released a workforce and educational attainment plan designed to increase Alabama’s readiness and labor force participation to the national average by 2025. Programs like the new partnership with Kubota mean more students can graduate with certifications that will let them go to work in local industries.

“It might not be a bachelor’s degree or an an associate’s degree, but it’s a credential that has some currency to people just like you who employ folks in skill positions that keep your customer base happy, and you have a talent pipeline that is always well-developed,” she said. “Partnerships like this in the State of Alabama and southeastern region across the nation are game changers in the way that we keep the talent pipeline developed.”

Kubota Tech Instructor Branden Brown gave some highlights of the program’s curriculum, and said it will teach students the fundamentals they need so they can come into a shop and contribute right away.

“An early-career technician coming into your dealer doesn’t have that learning curve, that gap,” he said. “I really think over time that you guys are going to see this pay huge dividends for you.”

Brown said Kubota projects that more than 3,400 technicians will be needed at its dealerships around the country by 2022, and the company’s partnership with Wallace State is the fourth pilot program established at schools around the country to try to meet that need.

As part of the program curriculum, students will become familiar with the Kubota B26TLB tractor, ZD1021 mower and RTV-X1140 side-by-side to build a foundation of knowledge with Kubota equipment, and the school will be able to work with local dealers to add popular equipment to the curriculum to make sure the area’s needs are being met, he said.

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