Tradesmen students get a shot at gaining a job

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Western Dakota Tech hosts a career fair to give their students a spot in the workforce.

None of the 50 vendors held back when trying to capture Western Dakota Tech students' attention to discuss jobs.

Showing off an agricultural sprayer, Grossenburg Implement, is on the hunt for service technicians for all eight of their stores. The locations range from from South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming.

"I don't need a guy who has certifications. All that stuff is great to have but if someone has the willingness to come out and learn, the aptitude to pick it up and go with it. I'm looking for that," Grossenburg Service Manager Matt Burtz said.

Hadley Hillman is a student who has what it takes.

After working with John Deere products on his family's ranch in the past, he wants to put his automotive technology skills to the test.

"A lot of people don't place the value on trade jobs but as we pushed more in the past for more high education and doctors and everything, the trade jobs really fell off," Hillman said.

But Hillman said now is their time to move and make some changes along with making their own money.

"We're in a unique spot right now because all of the trades people are going to be retiring. All the old timers and all the real good people are retiring," Hillman said.

About 98 percent of Western Dakota Tech students have a job before they finish their graduation walk.

And when companies hire locally, the economy sees the benefit too.

"We don't typically have the students who are anxious to get out of the area. A lot of them want to stay here. They want to work here. So again, having that regional set of employers is a good fit for everybody," Western Dakota Tech Director of Industry Relations and Grant Chandra Calvert said.