The new Ag Irrigation Academy at College of the Sequoias will help prepare students for a career in this fast-growing field. Image via COS

published on July 8, 2021 - 2:55 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

In response to the urgent need for skilled workers who can design, install and maintain new water-saving agriculture irrigation technology, College of the Sequoias (COS) has opened the Ag Irrigation Academy.

After just 18 weeks of intensive training, participants will be able to launch their careers in this new, well-paid field with many employment opportunities in the Central Valley, according to a COS news release.

The new Ag Irrigation Academy combines two days of hands-on instruction in the classroom and outdoors at the farm on the Tulare campus, said Charles Abee, COS agriculture instructor, who developed the new curriculum and certificate.

“Students will use the other days to complete up to 225 hours of paid or unpaid internships,” said Abee. “Students and industry need a fast turnaround time, so we condensed the program into a semester.”

Upon completion, participants will be prepared for skilled employment and to earn industry certification.

Employers such as Wildeye in Fresno and Exeter Irrigation are eager to collaborate with the college to prepare the next generation of skilled employees and indicate that there are excellent career opportunities with contractors, manufacturers and farms.

“The COS Ag Irrigation Academy is a great hands-on program that will produce excellent candidates ready to work,” said Daniel Eisenberg, general manager, Wildeye. 

“With the increasing demand for skilled individuals in agricultural irrigation, the deeper understanding of fundamental principles and technical experience this program will provide could not come at a better time,” said Kiel Taylor, general manager, Exeter Irrigation.

For job seekers and those wanting a career change as well as college students and recent high school graduates, the Ag Irrigation Academy offers a fast track to interesting, reliable, outdoor employment. Salaries start at $18-25/hr. to $26-35/ hr. with experience with many current job openings and excellent long-term prospects. No prerequisites or experience are required and the COS Ag Irrigation Academy program is tuition-free when financial aid processes are followed.

Those interested may go to the Ag Irrigation Academy web page COS.edu/AgIrrigation and contact Chelsea Cushing for individualized assistance with enrollment at chelseac@cos.edu or 559-688-3044.

The college is also seeking employers to host interns for up to 225 hours. Companies can contact Cosmo Costales, CTE Career Services at cosmoc@cos.edu or (559) 688-3122.


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