Fine-tuning Ag opportunities
Twenty-two Minneota High School students in agriculture and trade classes instructed by Matt Buysse explored local college and career opportunities in agriculture during National Ag Week last Thursday as part of a partnership with Minnesota West Technical College in Canby and Kesteloot Enterprises, Inc. north of Marshall.
“This is a great opportunity to expose the students to various career fields,” said Buysse. “Having these types of connections and resources gives the students a chance to experience different opportunities upon graduation.”
Members of the senior class were unable to attend the tours as they were on their class trip in Colorado.
The day featured a hands-on workshop at Minnesota West Technical college led by diesel instructors Pete Girard and Mike DeVries.During the workshop, students worked on hydraulic and electrical systems as well as learn how a fuel-injector powers a diesel engine.
“We want to give students the chance to see if mechanics is something that they’re interested in learning more about,” Girard said. “The best way to do this is to actually have them work on a machine.”
Girard explains that mechanically-inclined students tend to gravitate towards hands-on learning versus learning from a lecture. Students enrolled in the diesel tech program spend the majority of their time in the lab working on equipment.
“A workshop like this gives students an idea of what a college course in mechanics is like,” he said.
Girard explains that a perk for diesel tech students is that they are encouraged to bring in equipment from home to work on in the lab if it coincides with their course study.
In addition to the workshop, students also toured Kesteloot Enterprises, Inc., a Kubota dealership in Marshall with a full-service shop. The tour included meeting the diesel technicians and learning how their day is spent on service calls, running diagnostics and setting up new equipment.
“Ag mechanics are the unsung heroes in agriculture,” says Kesteloot Enterprises co-owner Tom Kesteloot. “This is a way to recognize the work that they do in our industry and pique students interest in a career in mechanics.”
Students also learned about the other departments that keep the dealership running, like accounting, parts and sales.
“We want students to realize that you don’t have to travel far to get an education and a career in agriculture,” says Kesteloot. “It’s all here in our backyard.”