Whitney Benefits Partners With Sheridan College to Create Jobs, Education and Technology Program

Sheridan College sophomore, Tillie Hoefer, from Shepherd, MT, pauses to measure for accuracy using a dial caliper.  Hoefer, who will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Machine Tool Technology in May, is working on a project using a manual mill machine. (Photo courtesy Wendy Smith/Sheridan College)
Sheridan College sophomore, Tillie Hoefer, from Shepherd, MT, pauses to measure for accuracy using a dial caliper. Hoefer, who will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Machine Tool Technology in May, is working on a project using a manual mill machine. (Photo courtesy Wendy Smith/Sheridan College)

Sheridan College has announced they've partnered with Whitney Benefits to create the new Jobs, Education and Technology program. The agreement is meant to allow the college to expand the offerings in such high demand areas as Machine Tool Technology, Diesel Technology, Welding Technology, Agriculture and Horticulture.

The positions will be in areas where there is tremendous demand for educated, skilled workers. The total cost to add four full-time teachers is approximately $400,000 per year or $2 million over five years.

Whitney Benefits trustees say they're asking for community members to match their pledge. According to a media release from Sheridan College, the total pledge from Whitney Benefits is one-half of the $2 million, or $1 million, toward this effort.

John Sikkenga, Sheridan College’s only Diesel Technology Instructor said he can only accept 12 students each year - but three times that many apply to the program. The over-the-road trucking industry is in great need of skilled mechanics because within the next ten years, 60 percent of the workers in this industry will be retiring.

Sikkenga said if students of his program are interested in self-employment or working for an established company, all of his students have multiple job offers upon graduation. With the support from Whitney Benefits, Sikkenga said the program will be able to double in size and provide jobs and career opportunities for many more students.

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