Western Dakota Tech hosts technology career expo for high school students

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN TV) - Though South Dakota technical schools won't see funding come from an increased cigarette tax -- after Initiated Measure 25 failed to meet voters' approval last night -- a career expo is still hyping up about 50 high-school students for the trade and technology fields.

On Tuesday night, people voted against adding an increased tobacco tax that would have partly funded state technical schools.
Despite that, Western Dakota Tech was happy to show off what they still have to offer to young minds. The Transportation and Manufacturing Camp is a free expo created to help guide students to a career choice while showing off what their departments have to offer.

"It's very important to bring in students who have not had a chance to experience some of this stuff, to see if its something that might trigger for them to get interested in the high school level so that when they get here they have a better understanding of what they might want to do in the future," says Western Dakota Tech Teacher Ethan Burk.

Helping out students like Anissa, who realized welding might not be her thing -- but automotive repair and design just might be.

"I've been thinking about being a mechanic so like all the different parts and learning about what they're doing and how they're doing it just was super interesting to me," says Stevens High School student Anissa Wilson.

Burk says its okay that the tobacco tax didn't pass because he would much rather see a re-written measure that would help out schools even more. The teachers are more concerned about the work gap within manufacturing jobs. As more and more retire, not many younger people are replacing them.

"There are many things that we would find ourselves at lost if we didn't have for example a cell phone, or automobile, or tv set and these items are manufactured largely by people wit h two-year technical degrees," says Western Dakota Tech Teacher Bill Urban.