JFF Drives Talent Growth for John Deere


JFF partnered with John Deere to build and deliver a national apprenticeship program for agriculture and equipment technicians and heavy construction equipment mechanics.

Published mar. 25, 2020

The Need

Companies across the agriculture industry are struggling with too many unfilled agricultural technician jobs and not enough qualified people to fill them, especially in rural areas. This problem is only going to get worse: As more of the industry’s trained workers retire in the next few years, there will be 3,000 agricultural equipment technician vacancies.

These vacancies lead to real lost revenue. Grant Suhre, director of Customer and Product Support for John Deere Ag & Turf, estimates that the company loses a significant portion of the potential revenue it could be receiving from replacement parts sales. With current technicians overstretched, the wait time to receive service directly from John Deere dealers leads customers to search for quicker options.

In addition, the company found that skilled trades training was a hurdle for some prime job candidates. The John Deere TECH program was established in 1989 as a comprehensive associate’s degree program that combined tuition assistance, internships, and job placement upon graduation.

The Solution

To address these challenges, John Deere partnered with JFF in 2017 to build and deliver a national apprenticeship program for agriculture and equipment technicians and heavy construction equipment mechanics. The program would expand the pool of qualified workers and offer participants a nationally recognized credential.

“This [program] can improve a dealer’s productivity and profit potential as employee turnover costs are reduced and employees are retained longer,” said Ryan Blades, director, C&F Customer and Product Support, Worldwide Construction and Forestry Division. “In addition, John Deere customers benefit from access to more highly skilled dealer personnel who are servicing or supporting their equipment.”

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This [program] can improve a dealer’s productivity and profit potential as employee turnover costs are reduced and employees are retained longer. In addition, John Deere customers benefit from access to more highly skilled dealer personnel who are servicing or supporting their equipment.

Ryan Blades, director, C&F Customer and Product Support, Worldwide Construction and Forestry Division