National Science Foundation Agriculture Project

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Project Name:

Modernizing Agriculture Technician Education in Appalachian Northeast Georgia (MATE-ANG)

Project’s Host Institution:

North Georgia Technical College
1500 Hwy 197 N
Clarkesville GA 30523

Awarding Organization: National Science Foundation

Award Number: DUE 2000444

Award Amount: $299,795.00

Project Dates: October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2023 (estimated)

Project Category: Agricultural and Environmental

Investigators:

Jeff Wilbanks
Principal Investigator
jeffrey.wilbanks@northgatech.edu
(706) 754-7822

Kevin Peyton
Co-Principal Investigator
kpeyton@northgatech.edu
(706) 754-7873

Project Abstract:

This project aims to address the growing need for agricultural technicians in Northeast Georgia. The agriculture industry is increasingly driven by precision technologies that maximize productivity and minimize waste and environmental hazards. These processes require advanced mechanization and global navigation satellite systems for implementation. To prepare agricultural technicians for work in precision technologies, the project will develop two agriculture technology programs that are aligned to local agricultural industry needs. These programs will be designed so that students can develop both technical and higher-order competencies and industry-supported credentials. With these skills and credentials, the students will be able to enter the agricultural technician workforce at middle-skilled levels. This project aims to increase the skilled technical workforce in Northeast Georgia, thus increasing the ability of employers to recruit skilled agricultural technicians locally.

The project plans to develop two new academic programs that can prepare students for technical work in modern agricultural industries: Agribusiness; and Modern Diversified Agriculture. Two complimentary goals will be pursued. The first is to develop experiential, diversified curricula specific to the needs of the local agriculture industry. The second is to recruit and retain Appalachian students in these agricultural technician programs. The curricula will be designed through a partnership with the agriculture industry and local agriculture advisory committee members. The curricula will focus on providing students with hands-on opportunities in the context of learning laboratories. The project will engage a pool of students who are largely untapped due to a lack of awareness of the available positions and a lack of access to the technical education needed to fill the positions. Information in the project annual evaluation reports will be used to measure project success, adjust strategies, and inform stakeholders about project progress. The project will also investigate how the community, through its higher education institutions, can engage the agriculture industry and Appalachian families and students in preparing agriculture technicians for well-paying, local jobs. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation’s economy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project are those of the grantee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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