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THINKBIG PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS

One of the best ways to kick-start your career early is to have a plan right after high school. If you're ready to pursue a career as a Stowers Machinery service technician, we can help you get started. Stowers Machinery co-sponsors the Heavy Equipment Dealer Service Technology program at South Georgia Technical College as part of Caterpillar’s ThinkBIG program. Keep reading to get the details, and check out the video below to see what Mike Rowe has to say about service careers at Stowers.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES ARE ALL AROUND

Cat dealer service technician careers are part of the fastest growing segment of the job market, and individuals who successfully complete the Cat Dealer Service Technician Program have a high potential for securing a good-paying job, since Caterpillar dealer service technicians are paid well for their skills. The average pay for an entry-level Caterpillar dealer service technician ranges from $20,000 to $40,000 annually, with the possibility of earning up to $60,000 to $70,000 a year or more.

As the job market changes, employers across North America face a shortage of skilled technical employees. "We are seeing a dramatic change in the job market," said Steve Hitch, Training Consultant for Caterpillar. "Many high-paying, challenging jobs — including Cat Dealer Service Technicians — no longer require a four-year degree. Cat machines today come with electronically controlled engines, satellite-based navigation systems, sophisticated computer-based diagnostics, and state-of-the-art hydraulics. To work on these machines, service technicians must be highly trained in computers, electronics, hydraulics and more."


WATCH WHAT MIKE ROWE HAS TO SAY ABOUT TECHNICIAN CAREERS




WHAT IS THE THINKBIG PROGRAM?

The two-year ThinkBIG service technician training program allows students to earn an Associate Degree in Heavy Equipment Dealer Service Technology from South Georgia Technical College. Caterpillar provides much of the curriculum and training material.

The program, located in Americus, Georgia, features alternating eight-week sessions of classroom instruction and hands-on experience for students at the participating dealerships. Students begin the program in August and complete it during June of the second year.

Students selected for the two-year program receive practical work experience from Stowers Machinery Corporation during paid internships. Upon graduation from the program, the student receives an Associate Degree in Applied Technology.

Students applying for the program must be first accepted by South Georgia Technical College and then meet the specific requirements of Stowers Machinery Corporation, including placement tests and a background check, before final acceptance.

A typical schedule for students in the program is shown below.


TYPICAL SCHEDULE

The schedule shown below is typical of what yours will look like during your two years in the ThinkBIG program.

FALL SEMESTER 1
Aug 22: Registration
Aug 24 to Oct 14: In the Classroom
   CATT 1100 Caterpillar Engine Fundamentals
   CATT 1110 Caterpillar Service Industry
   COMP 1000 Introduction to Computers
   WELD 1000 Introduction to Welding
Oct 19 to Dec 15: Shop Internship
   Paid internship at Stowers Machinery

SPRING SEMESTER 1
Jan 10 to  Mar 2: In the Classroom
   CATT 1120 Hydraulic Fundamentals
   CATT 1130 Fuel Systems
   CATT 1140 Electrical Fundamentals
   ENGL 1101 Composition and Rhetoric
   MATH 1111 College Algebra
Mar 12 to May 2: Shop Internship
   Paid internship at Stowers Machinery

SUMMER SEMESTER
May 31 to Aug 2: In the Classroom
   CATT 1150 Air Conditioning Fundamentals
   CATT 1160 Power Train I
   CATT 1170 Machine Hydraulic Systems
   ELECTIVE Choose from Core Requirements

FALL SEMESTER 2
Aug 24 to Oct 14: Shop Internship
   Paid internship at Stowers Machinery
Oct 19 to Dec 15: In the Classroom
   CATT 2000 Power Train II
   CATT 2010 Machine Electronics
   ENGL 2130 American Literature

SPRING SEMESTER 2
Jan 10 to Mar 2: Shop Internship
   Paid internship at Stowers Machinery
Mar 12 to May 2: In the Classroom
   CATT 2020 Engine Diagnostics and Repair
   CATT 2030 Machine Diagnostics
   CATT 2040 Machine Specific
Jun 2: Graduation


PRE-ADMISSION TESTING

Since the ThinkBIG program is a college program, you must pass an entrance exam to be admitted to the college. The minimum acceptable scores for three common pre-admission tests are shown below.

  • ACT - 17 in Reading; 16 in English; 19 in Math
  • SAT - 450 in Reading; 440 in Math
  • COMPASS - 79 in Reading; 62 in Writing; 37 in Algebra



Visit the ACT website or the SAT website for upcoming test dates as well as information on how to take one of these tests.


PAYING FOR THE PROGRAM

After you are enrolled in the program, you will pay your on-campus expenses (tuition, room and board, books), which add up to about $3,500 per semester, for the five semesters of the program.

During each of your four internships in our shop, you will earn approximately $3,500 (less applicable payroll taxes) to help with your on-campus expenses.

After you finish the program, we will reimburse your program expenses in full (less payroll taxes on non-tuition expenses) – based on how well you perform in the classroom and during your internships – if you work at Stowers Machinery as a service technician for just two years.


HOW TO APPLY

To start the process, download, print and complete our STUDENT INTEREST SURVEY, and then return it to our office. Contact us if you want us to send you the form via email or regular mail.


WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I APPLY?

After you’ve indicated that you’re interested in the ThinkBIG program, we’ll work with you as you complete the following steps in the process:

  • Get a passing score on one of the required pre-admission tests.
  • Visit the South Georgia Technical College campus to learn about campus life.
  • Take our internal assessments (Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test, the Wonderlic Personnel Test, and a manual dexterity assessment).
  • Interview with our service manager in the store where you’ll complete the shop internships that are part of the program.



To enter the program, you must have a high school diploma (or equivalent) and be 18 years old by the time you begin your first internship.

You must also have a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record and be able to pass a background check, a physical exam, and a drug screen.
CALL NOW TO LEARN MORE

Duane Gabehart
865-595-1054


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