YAKIMA, Wash. -- Tractors, combines, cultivators, seeders and sprayers are among the teaching tools in the latest learning experience offered at Perry Technical Institute.

Beginning in June, Perry Tech will offer an agricultural equipment technician program in which students will learn to diagnose, repair, modify and overhaul a variety of equipment, the school recently announced.

Interested students can apply now for the yearlong program; its first class will be 20 students. It’s the newest program since Perry Tech introduced medical assistant in 2012.

“This is a program we’ve heard a lot of feedback from the community,” said associate dean of education Jason Lamiquiz, “as well as members of the agricultural industry.”

Agricultural equipment technician has been in the making for a year, Lamiquiz said. Changes in agricultural technology has farmers and agricultural businesses playing catch-up. The problem is many employees lack adequate technology skills.

As a result, Perry Tech officials developed the curriculum around in-class and real-world opportunities, such as externships.

“Students will have the opportunity to go out one day a week and work side-by-side with employers out in the field or in ag repair facilities,” Lamiquiz said. “They’ll be able to get the theory at Perry Tech and work with employers to build their skills set.”

Furthermore, hands-on training in the classrooms will focus around equipment and machinery seen in the fields, such as diesel engines, diesel fuel systems, electrical and electronic systems and hydraulics.

Depending on long-term interest, Lamiquiz said future enrollment and sections may expand in size.

The new program has been approved by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board and accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

Call Perry Tech admissions at 509-453-0374 or toll-free at 888-528-8586 for more information.