Motlow State Community College is starting a course this fall to prepare students focused on agriculture for the future.
The course is agronomy, it focuses on the science and technology side of agriculture. Motlow State Community College President Michael Torrence said starting the course is about giving students in rural communities the skills to garner strong wages in rural communities.
“Those who are driving combines and tractors and using different kinds of equipment, those are now digitized,” Torrence said. “They are AI infused and they are enhanced. You have to have a deep learning and want and need for this new information so that you can work on them and make it better.”
Torrence said the Warren County School System will be the first incubator for this program’s dual enrollment pathway. Torrence said the goal is to give students agronomy credentials by the time they graduate high school.
“This is an opportunity for us to keep those smart, sharp people in our small town, rural areas,” Torrence said. “And they can make a livable, sustainable wage.”
Torrence said the importance of this course does extend beyond keeping talent in areas like the Upper Cumberland. He said trends are showing people coming to rural areas and they need courses to succeed in the future of rural America.
“There’s migration occurring, it was happening before the pandemic but migration is occurring,” Torrence said. “There are people who are moving back towards small town, rural areas and then there are those that are interested in carrying on the family farms or the family businesses that are associated with agriculture. This provides those smart, sharp people an opportunity to learn and earn and keep up and stay where they were born and raised.”
Torrence said this is part of Motlow’s effort to facilitate what he called “new collar” jobs.
He said the lines have blurred between blue and white collar jobs as more jobs focus on technology. Torrence said the course will be available online, through hybrid and in-person learning.