HOT SPRINGS |The Build Dakota Roadshow stopped in Hot Springs at the Mueller Center on the evening of Nov. 5. Speakers from South Dakota's tech schools came to talk to prospective students about the Build Dakota Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship is meant to address the workforce shortage in the state of South Dakota. Recipients of the scholarship receive the education and training needed in high-need industries. Books, fees and tuition are covered by the scholarship as long as the student works in South Dakota for three years after graduating.
Clayton Deuter, director of admissions at Mitchell Technical Institute, said the crowd at the Mueller Center was bigger and more engaged than most the roadshow sees. "We had a lot of good conversations tonight," he said.
Deuter added the focus of the program is to provide a larger workforce to the state, but specifically create situations where communities like Hot Springs can retain a robust workforce, saying, "we want to create local jobs."
One way the Build Dakota Scholarship Fund helps keep skilled people in communities is by partnering with industry employers. In the partnership, Build Dakota and an employer split the cost of a student’s education. Upon graduation, the student is then required to work for the employer who sponsored them for three years.
Deuter said these partnerships benefit the students and employers. If a student is able to find an employer to sponsor a portion of their training and education, they have employment immediately after graduation, employers are able to gain needed workers for at least three years after their investment, and the scholarship is able to reach more students with more industry partners, he noted.
Several local employers had booths set up at the event so they could learn more about the program and talk to potential future employees. Employers in attendance included Buffalo Gap National Grassland, Michael J. Fitzmaurice Veterans Home, Fall River Health Services, South Dakota Wildland Fire, Hot Springs Ambulance Service and Spitzer Construction.
Prospective students have the option of entering into one of more than 20 programs offered by South Dakota's technical schools. These programs cover a large range of industries, including automotive, agriculture, building trades, energy technicians, engineering technicians, healthcare, information technology, computer systems, manufacturing and welding.
For more information regarding the program, visit Build Dakota at builddakotascholarship.com, or call 605-347-1804.
Written by Isaac Zarecki and reprinted by permission of the Hot Springs Star