COS Ag Irrigation Academy prepares students for career in Ag

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An exciting opportunity for students is turning heads at the World Ag Expo in Tulare. Amid the hundreds of booths at the World Expo is one aiming to train the next generation of ag workers.

This 18-week program prepares students to become ag irrigation technicians and opens the doors to careers in industrial maintenance, automation, and ag mechanics.

"We took what you see out here at the farm show," said Ag Irrigation Professor Charlie Abee, "and we decided to put it all into a semester to streamline the process."

College of the Sequoias Ag Irrigation Academy is giving students the opportunity to get certified in a new career, in only one semester.

"It all started with us not knowing much of anything," said graduate Mason Waldner. "Just getting a worksheet in August and when December rolled around, we were ready to take the test and become certified irrigation specialists."

Mason Waldner completed the program last semester.

"It peaked my interest for all the different things you can branch out to in irrigation because there are pumps, electrical," said Waldner.

Waldner says his internship experience and classroom knowledge went hand in hand.

"My work progressed with my schooling," explained Waldner. "I encountered something at work and the next day, we ended up covering it."

Credits also apply to an Associates degree.

"Water management is a big thing." said graduate Gloria Ramirez, "and if you're indecisive, it's only 18 weeks and you'll have it in your back pocket."

"We're in a drought. This is a way to help the students and the community be successful with our limited water resource," added Abee.

The hourly wage for these jobs can range anywhere from $18-$25 an hour. For details on how to apply to the program visit their website.
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