21st Century Equipment Announces Mobile Learning Lab

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – 21st Century Equipment has announced plans to construct a mobile learning lab, utilizing funds obtained from a Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) grant.

The mobile learning lab will empower 7th and 8th grade students in various areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning and will expose youth to the litany of H3 job opportunities available in Nebraska, specifically in agriculture. H3 means “high wage, high skill and high demand.”

“The primary purpose of this project is to inspire interest in STEM opportunities by exposing students to these things earlier in their educational journey,” said Owen Palm, 21st Century Equipment President & CEO. “We also want kids to see they can have a rewarding, great-paying career right here in the panhandle.”

The lab itself will be housed in a 40-foot enclosed gooseneck trailer, equipped with heating and air conditioning, allowing it to be used as an outdoor classroom. Within the trailer will be workstations that can be used in place or detached and moved into the classrooms as needed.

These workstations will include hands-on computer simulators capable of demonstrating various precision ag technologies. Other proposed elements include a FarmBot, a robotic machine students can program to physically plant seed in various spacings, a 3D printer and a John Deere Gator™ that can be programmed to use GPS to navigate an obstacle course. The use of virtual reality (VR) goggles has been proposed to take non-farm students on an actual working farm and feedlot tour.

“We’re excited to expose students to some of the capabilities we have today in precision agriculture, not only to broaden their understanding of the application of STEM courses, but possibly even to inspire future career aspirations,” said Palm.

While 21st Century Equipment will be responsible for the operation and maintenance costs associated with the lab, additional funds are still being raised for the initial build. Construction is set to begin in the latter part of 2022, with the goal that the lab will begin visiting schools in early 2023.

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