Talent Development Articles

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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‘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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Live, Learn, Inspire: How to engage multiple generations for lifelong learning

Want to gain insight on how to work with multiple generations? Start by teaching them.

That’s what Fenecia Foster does as part of her role at Southeast Technical Institute, where she splits time teaching math and applied physics with serving as a faculty liaison working on accreditation and on-boarding faculty.

“We have a lot of Gen Xers who are coming back in the classroom to retrain, and I’ve had students who are baby boomers,” said Foster, who has been teaching at Southeast Tech. for almost seven years. “We really get those three generations – Gex X, millennials and Gen Z – in our classroom at the same time, and the workforce is similar.”

Foster will be part of a panel around the topic of “Live, Learn, Inspire” at the Aug. 22 WIN in Workforce Summit presented by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. Foster will be joined by panelists Kayla Eitreim of Junior Achievement of South Dakota, Josh Hall from the Career & Technical Education Academy and Alyssia Salguero with the South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation.

It’s one of several sessions designed to share strategies around talent development. The summit also will cover talent attraction, business partnerships and other workforce development resources.


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Today’s girls, tomorrow’s entrepreneurs: The role of women in workforce development

From racing robots to deconstructing computers, Karen Lundquist doesn’t have to look far to see ways big and small that her organization is helping shape girls for their professional futures.

The CEO of EmBe views exposing young women to a broad range of opportunities that await in the working world as key to the organization’s mission.

“We believe with the right approaches, we’re finding ways for girls to get involved with science early and stay empowered to pursue the variety of directions their ability can take them,” she said.

Lundquist will be part of a panel at the Aug. 22 WIN in Workforce Summit presented by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.


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