Amazon to retrain a third of its U.S. workforce

U.S. companies are increasingly paying up to retrain workers as new technologies transform the workplace and companies struggle to recruit talent in one of the hottest job markets in decades.

Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 0.50% is the latest example of a large employer committing to help its workers gain new skills. The online retailer said Thursday it plans to spend $700 million over about six years to retrain a third of its U.S. workforce as automation, machine learning and other technology upends the way many of its employees do their jobs.

Companies as varied as AT&T Inc., Walmart Inc., WMT 0.33% JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Accenture ACN -0.45% PLC have embarked on efforts to prepare workers for new roles. At a time of historically low unemployment, coupled with rapid digital transformation that requires high-tech job skills, more U.S. companies said they want to help their employees transition to new positions—and they have their bottom line squarely in focus.


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Chemist and cancer researcher finds ‘well-rounded life’ at SDSU

Tell us about yourself, including when your interest in science began, your education and research experience, and what led you to your current position as Assistant Professor and founder of the RAWC Lab at South Dakota State University.

My name is Dr. Rachel Willand-Charnley. My interest in science began in the lab of my grandfather’s veterinary clinic, where he served both large animals and small animals. I spent summers on the ranch in Illinois with my grandparents, and I spent most of my time at “the clinic” observing in the operating room and working in the lab. I distinctly remember wearing scrubs and a lab coat and looking at parasites under the microscope with my him. These experiences were the beginning of my interest in science.

Later, I began my undergraduate studies at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, and I eventually transferred to Creighton University. I was a biology major and pre-med, which required numerous courses in physics, chemistry, and math, in addition to biology. I distinctly remember being very nervous to take organic chemistry, so much so, I delayed taking the course until my junior year. Then and even now it is rumored to be a “weed-out course” for pre-professionals due to the difficulty of the course. I was surprised to find that I loved organic chemistry, so much so that I rejected my acceptance to medical school and began a chemistry PhD program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


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New additions to ag education prepare students for jobs of the future

One look at some of the newest additions to South Dakota State University make it clear: Ag-related education is changing.
 
“We’re doing things that are really relevant to all the real, major grand challenges that face society today,” said John Killefer, the South Dakota Corn-Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
 
There are 2,000 undergraduates and 300 graduate students in the college, spread across 23 majors. Many of them are working and learning in facilities unlike any other in the country – preparing them for a huge range of in-demand jobs.
 
“There’s probably never been a more exciting time to be in this type of college for a student in the future than it is today,” Killefer said.


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SFDF awards commemorative plaques to WIN Summit speakers, sponsors

As a gesture of gratitude for their contributions of time, talents and financial support, all of which helped to make the second annual WIN in Workforce Summit a success, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation gifted commemorative plaques to the 40 speakers and the 13 sponsor organizations who supported the August event.

“Due to the generosity of our business partners, the WIN in Workforce Summit was a resounding success,” said Denise Guzzetta, Vice President of Talent and Workforce Development. “We at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation are grateful to the speakers for sharing their experiences and to the sponsor companies for supporting our shared vision to equip and to grow the Sioux Falls area workforce for the betterment of our business community.”


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Southeast Tech building programs to meet industry needs

Fifty years ago, Southeast Tech began in Sioux Falls with six programs and fewer than 100 students.

A half-century later, it’s grown to 60 programs and more than 2,400 students.

“It’s up from last year again, so it’s nice to see that continued interest in trades and technical careers,” said Robert Griggs, who is beginning his third school year as Southeast Tech’s president.

Southeast Tech helps prepare students to secure jobs in the Sioux Falls area by tailoring its program offerings to match areas where workers are needed. That’s resulted in programs teaching skills in the following areas: Business, Transportation Technology, Horticulture, Industrial Technology, Media Communications, Healthcare, Engineering Technology, Law Enforcement, Early Childhood, Information Technology, Agriculture and Technical Studies.

“What’s really critical is that Southeast Tech respond to industry needs,” Griggs said. “In order to do that, we need to be in constant communication and conversation with industry representatives about what they see as current demand and what opportunities are going to exist for careers in the future.”

This school year brought a new program to train medical assistants, developed in response to needs from the healthcare field and with curriculum help from Avera Health and Sanford Health.


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Student researchers can connect with career opportunities at upcoming event

As many as 200 undergraduate students are spending their summer immersed in STEM-related research in South Dakota, and soon they will be in front of business leaders who could go on to hire them.

The research work is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, including the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, and Research Experience for Undergraduates, or REU, as well as the South Dakota Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network, or SD BRIN.


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