A $95,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture – part of the U.S.D.A. — will enable the Department of Automotive Technology at Pittsburg State University to purchase a hydraulic training board to train personnel in the agriculture industry.

Currently, the closest such training is in Canada and Germany, noted Professor Tim Dell, coordinator of the department’s diesel and heavy equipment emphasis.

His department, working in partnership with the Kansas Center for Careers & Technical Education at PSU, will offer a total of 12 workshops for agriculture industry personnel over a span of three years. Three already are planned for late 2020 and early 2021.

The workshops will be held in PSU’s Kansas Technology Center and will be open to technicians, instructors, agricultural manufacturing personnel including engineers, field representatives, and hotline troubleshooters.

The equipment to be purchased with the grant, a Bosch Rexroth training board, is double sided and allows two different groups to use it at a time, one per side.

“The workshops will allow participants to receive hands-on training for machine hydraulic systems, including open center, pressure compensating, pre-spool compensation, and post-spool compensation,” said Dell, who will teach the workshops. “The training will also include training on hydrostatic transmissions.”

Dell has taught at PSU for 21 years, having previously worked at Case IH as a hotline troubleshooter assisting dealers with inquiries on combine harvesters, four-wheel drive tractors, and cotton harvesters. He has authored two textbooks, Hydraulic Systems for Mobile Equipment and Heavy Equipment Power Trains and Systems.

The grant is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Agricultural Workforce Training Grants Program.

Other projects to be funded range from a new dual certificate and associate degree program at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, to a workforce development program at Michigan State University in East Lansing.