Tanner Pfeifer, applicator apprentice at CVA, finds career success

Nov 17, 2023

Tanner Pfeifer applicator apprentice

Tanner Pfeifer, a 20-year-old Northeast Community College student, was uncertain about his career path before enrolling in the Applicator Apprenticeship Program with Central Valley Ag.

Pfeifer began working for CVA while he was still in high school. He was employed as an applicator under Kendal Bender when he discovered the Applicator Apprenticeship program. His supervisor informed him about the program, and he immediately became interested. Pfeifer believed it would be an excellent opportunity to enhance his resume and learn more about applicating. "The program covers my education costs and enables me to continue working and earning an income. After researching, I had no doubt about enrolling," said Pfeifer.

Tanner was quick to enroll in the program, applying on the first day that applications opened. He was the first among six students currently enrolled in the program. In August, Tanner began classes, learning things such as how to calculate dry and liquid fertilizer. "This program is great because it helps me to apply what I learn in the classroom to my job," said Pfeifer. "I also get to experience things that aren't typically covered in class, such as the challenges that can arise during application. This apprenticeship has made me feel more confident in my work."

Tanner's supervisor, Kendal Bender, the Location Manager at Humphrey, wished that there had been a similar opportunity when he was in school. "This program would have assisted me in identifying my career path earlier than I eventually did. It is a fantastic chance for individuals to continue working while pursuing an education,” said Bender.

The Applicator Apprenticeship program equips students with knowledge about weeds, the math behind the chemicals they apply, and more. The program helps students understand the purpose behind their jobs. According to Bender, many applicators learn on the job without a deep understanding of what they are doing. However, with this program, students are already equipped with the knowledge of what they are doing and the reasoning behind it. This apprenticeship helps students handle their jobs more efficiently and prepares them for the future by providing them with a year of experience. Employers also benefit from this program as they get skilled employees. This program is a win-win situation for both the students and the employers.

The program is divided into two eight-week sessions. Students take eight-week courses from August to October, then work until classes resume in January. The second session concludes in March, which coincides with the busiest spraying season. "They designed this program based on the spraying schedule," explained Tanner. "It's excellent because we finish our classes before the spraying season starts, allowing us to concentrate on our job."

Not only do these students have a great experience, but it is fully paid for if they apply through Central Valley Ag, a sponsor of the apprenticeship program. Central Valley Ag fully covers their students' tuition, and the students continue to earn money by working for CVA. "These guys get to continue to work and come out of this program debt-free," said Bender, "If you aren't sure of your career path or are even slightly interested in becoming an applicator, this is a great opportunity. I would encourage anyone with the slightest interest to enroll." 

Tanner will complete the program this spring and continue working as an applicator with Central Valley Ag in Humphrey, Neb.

Happy National Apprenticeship Week: November 13-19, 2023

Applicator apprentice

2024 Applicator Apprenticeship Application Now Open

The Chemical Applicator Apprenticeship Program is for people of all ages who want to earn a salary while learning how to effectively operate chemical applicator equipment and understand what chemicals are used to treat certain infestations. To get involved in the apprenticeship program, please complete an Application within Central Valley Ag's ADP platform. Upon completion, a representative of CVA will follow up with you. First come, first served of eligible applications so don't delay. Apply today!

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