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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Students learn STEM, soft skills through workforce development partnership

The cafeteria at Dell Rapids Middle School cooked up something different recently when fifth graders, business representatives and educators put on a one-of-a-kind STEM lesson.

The effort, led and coordinated by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, brought together partners Gage Brothers Concrete Products and Journey Group for a lesson that include a hands-on look at how cement becomes concrete.

Along the way, students learned about science and math-related concepts and the careers they might pursue in related industries.

Here’s a look at how the activity came together.


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Augustana shines nationwide for job placement as it plans for future workforce needs

It’s one thing to find a job right out of college. It’s another to still be thriving in the workforce a decade after graduation.

And a recently released study shows students who graduate from Augustana University are leading the nation when it comes to post-graduation employment.

The university ranked second nationwide, with a 96.05 percent employment rate for its graduates over a 10-year period.


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Your Future STEM career exploration program crucial for middle school students

Middle school students are at a prime age for career exploration, researchers have found. According to the National Science Teachers Association, students ages 11-14 are more open to exploring the world around them, and thus, they are excited to learn about career fields that they may not have initially considered. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation has recently stepped in to address these eager students with their Your Future initiative.


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‘The cyber state’ takes shape with first-of-its-kind research center

Think of the newly opened Madison Cyber Labs at Dakota State University as a big magnet.

“It’s going to attract people to come to work, new faculty who will be able to conduct research with federal agencies they can’t do on other campuses,” DSU president José-Marie Griffiths said. “And we think it will attract partnerships. We know it’s already attracting partnerships.”

The 38,000-square-foot building that opened in recent weeks already is fulfilling much of its promise.

As students move in, collaboration already is starting, those using the building said.

That was the idea when Griffiths proposed the concept to her campus and to the South Dakota Board of Regents just a few short years ago.

“We couldn’t have one lab per faculty member pursuing their individual research agendas. They had to be broader and involve others across campus and potentially involve external partners,” she said.

“The intent is not just research for the sake of research. It’s researching real problems, developing real solutions, but at the same time creating jobs for people who engage in that R&D and spin off companies that take that R&D and put it out into the real world.”


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High school students immerse in IT with unique summer academy

Sioux Falls-area high school students got an early look this summer at what careers in the information technology field could look like, thanks to a unique program with a lot of partners.

The IT Academy was funded by a federal EPSCoR grant, which is through the National Science Foundation and stands for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

For about six weeks, high school students attended class for three hours daily Monday through Thursday in Sioux Falls or Madison, as Dakota State Unviersity instructors taught computer science.

In the afternoon, the students went to paid internships throughout the community and even statewide, where they learned about career opportunities and got to contribute work to their employers.


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