Ivy Tech Community College in Terre Haute is celebrating a fundraising milestone. The school says it has exceeded its $2.5 million goal in the capital campaign to support its precision agriculture equipment technology and diesel technology programs, including the renovation of the Center of Excellence, which houses the programs. Chancellor Lee Anne Crooks says while the facility opened at the beginning of the current academic year, the campaign continued in order to provide the necessary state-of-the-art equipment.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Crooks said the precision ag program addresses a growing need.
"We were fortunate on the Ivy Tech campus that we had a traditional agricultural program, but we really saw the need to expand into the precision ag arena because the ag environment is definitely changing and evolving into a very high-tech environment," said Crooks. "So although we still need the traditional ag, we also need to make sure that we’re training technicians who can work in the high-tech side. Companies are needing to have technicians who can work alongside the farmers and troubleshoot, work on their equipment, do the data analysis on all of the computerized systems that are now on every piece of ag equipment."
Crooks says the program also creates another professional career track for students who might not only be interested in ag, but also in a high-tech, computerized environment. Additionally, she says the Center of Excellence allows the Ivy Tech campus to nearly triple the number of students that can take part in the school’s existing diesel technology program.
The $2.5 million raised includes a $1.2 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration, which was awarded in the spring of 2017.
“We now have the capacity to have 80 students in each of the two programs enabling us to support industry’s employment needs within Wabash Valley and throughout most of Indiana through the Center of Excellence," David Will, dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, & Applied Science, said in a news release. "Our new larger space also allows us to house emerging technology and large scale equipment used in industry today."
At a celebration for donors Wednesday evening, Ivy Tech announced the establishment of the Ken and Cathy Warner Scholarship, which will provide $1,000 to one student per year who is pursuing a degree in Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology on the Terre Haute Campus.
Crooks said the precision ag program addresses a growing need.