ThinkBIG Program

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 $30,000 to $40,000 annually, with the potential to earn 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

TYPICAL SCHEDULE

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

SemesterDateEvents
FALL SEMESTER 1Aug 22
Aug 24 to Oct 14




Oct 19 to Dec 15
Registration
In the Classroom
CATT 1100 Caterpillar Engine Fundamentals
CATT 1110 Caterpillar Service Industry
COMP 1000 Introduction to Computers
WELD 1000 Introduction to Welding
Shop Internship
Paid internship at Stowers Machinery
SPRING SEMESTER 1Jan 10 to Mar 2





Mar 12 to May 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
Shop Internship
Paid internship at Stowers Machinery
SUMMER SEMESTERMay 31 to Aug 2In the Classroom
CATT 1150 Air Conditioning Fundamentals
CATT 1160 Power Train I
CATT 1170 Machine Hydraulic Systems
ELECTIVE Choose from Core Requirements
FALL SEMESTER 2Aug 24 to Oct 14

Oct 19 to Dec 15
Shop Internship
Paid internship at Stowers Machinery
In the Classroom
CATT 2000 Power Train II
CATT 2010 Machine Electronics
ENGL 2130 American Literature
SPRING SEMESTER 2Jan 10 to Mar 2

Mar 12 to May 2



Jun 2
Shop Internship
Paid internship at Stowers Machinery
In the Classroom
CATT 2020 Engine Diagnostics and Repair
CATT 2030 Machine Diagnostics
CATT 2040 Machine Specific
Graduation

 

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.

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 us. You can email your survey to bmanis@stowerscat.com.

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.

For more information contact Brad Manis at 865-352-6777 or bmanis@stowerscat.com.