Trimble and The Ohio State University have announced the opening of two state-of-the-art Trimble Technology Labs for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences on OSU’s main campus to address gaps in skilled labor.
The multidisciplinary labs will enhance the university’s hands-on learning, teaching, research, and outreach activities in food and agricultural engineering and construction management.
The two new Trimble Technology Labs provide students access to leading agriculture and construction technologies used today by professionals in the industry. With added hands-on learning opportunities, these labs will ultimately help a more significant number of students prepare for their future careers.
In the inaugural year, more than 1,000 students will have access to the labs for courses dedicated to the next generation of agriculture and construction careers.
“In recent years, farming and construction industries have faced crucial labor shortages and skilled labor gaps,” said Jim Chambers, vice president of agriculture at Trimble. “With the added technology in these labs, we’re looking to not only attract the next generation of agriculture and construction professionals, but we hope to attract a whole new subset of students looking for technology careers that may not have realized a career in agriculture or construction could be for them.”
Based on Ohio State’s campus in Columbus and Ohio State ATI at the CFAES Wooster campus in Ohio, these labs are the first Trimble Technology Labs to include Trimble agriculture solutions.
The centerpiece of the labs is customized training workstations that simulate using Trimble agriculture hardware and software in the classroom, including machine guidance and control, assisted steering, field leveling, and water management systems. The workstations enable students to interact with technology in the school before they begin working with equipment in the field.
Historically, agriculture and construction classes have been focused on lecture-style curricula. By starting in the workstation lab setting, moving to technology-equipped ATV, and then to full-sized agricultural and construction equipment, learners have more opportunities to master the skill sets needed to excel in precision farming and construction management.
“The new Trimble Technology Labs help The Ohio State University lead the way when it comes to innovative agriculture education, research and outreach programs,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. “Not only does Trimble help the university in the classroom, but having such a well-respected agriculture partner engaged with the college opens a lot of doors within the industry for our students and community.”
In addition to students, the Trimble Technology Labs will benefit the greater farming community in Ohio and beyond. Ohio State University Extension, CFAES’ statewide outreach arm, will help support training programs to re-equip farmers and agricultural professionals with technologies that can improve productivity, increase efficiencies, and drive sustainable farming practices.
The labs will be used for workforce development opportunities and faculty research, local youth agriculture groups such as Ohio 4-H Youth Development, FFA, and local field days. The labs will also offer opportunities for worker training outside of the usual university, for-credit courses by offering targeted workshops for certifications, appealing to current farm workers, local dealers, or businesses in the industry.
The agriculture workstations include a combination of hardware and software to prepare students in agricultural sciences and engineering to use equipment in the field, including workflows such as guidance, autosteer, water management and application technologies. The workstations are designed to replicate what happens in the field.
Alongside the agriculture solutions, the labs include a broad range of Trimble’s industry-leading geospatial and construction solutions and software.