Spearfish schools expand their education programs

Can Spearfish schools ease community workforce shortages?
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 6:16 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - It’s been a major topic over the last year. Many businesses are experiencing worker shortages.

Two schools in Spearfish are planning to expand their education programs to help with these issues.

Spearfish School District is aiming to expand their career technical education center at their high school. The facility looks to add more variety of classes students can take. When looking to expand education Kirk Easton, the superintendent of Spearfish School District says they focused on regional and student needs, medical science being one of them. The goal of this new program will offer a medical simulation lab, job shadowing, health speakers, and to better expose students to what is available.

“Are we where we want to be? Absolutely not. So, as I tell my administrator we run with our low, we run with our high and were always looking to improve no matter what. We look at academic goals each and every year and look to improve upon those,” Easton said.

The goal for Black Hills State University is to have about 500 freshmen attend every year. This year about 481 attended the University. Having a goal of bringing in more freshmen, the school is looking to expand and upgrade some of its facilities. One of the takeaways from expanding these facilities are they will bring more jobs to Spearfish. These jobs include construction, retail, restaurants, daycare, and banking.

Laurie Nichols, President of Black Hills State University, talks about what the University contributes to the state of South Dakota and the importance of the school.

“Black Hills State has approximately 11 thousand alumni who live and work in South Dakota. It is about 60 percent of our alumni that stay in our state to live and work, and the impact and wages earned on the economy over a 40-year career is about 26.6 billion dollars to South Dakota.” Nichols explained.

On top of the importance of bringing in more jobs to Spearfish the University is looking to add a new wing to the West River Health Science Center. This project is projected to be a $15.1 million cost. Expansion of the health center will bring more nurses to ease a nursing shortage