81 new WDT students receive Dakota Builds scholarship

Published: Aug. 16, 2016 at 5:17 PM MDT
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South Dakota suffers from a shortage in workers going into the technical fields.

Many institutions, with the help of state money, are combating this issue with scholarships.

Jill Elder, director of enrollment management at Western Dakota Tech says, "In technical education, all the careers are high in demand and there's a shortage within the state of South Dakota so the Build Dakota scholarship has been provided to those students to keep them here within our state."

Western Dakota Tech is one of four schools in South Dakota to offer programs for the Build Dakota scholarship.

This year over 300 students received full tuition, books and other expenses paid using these funds.

"Elder says, We have 49 students that are returning for their second year of the Build Dakota scholarship. We have had five students that have already graduated and they are in the workforce and we are bringing on 81 new students this fall semester."

Western Dakota Tech added three new programs this year including computer science, medical lab technician and surgical technician.

This is the second year the program has been up and running and Elder says it's been a huge help to WDT.

Elder says,"The build Dakota scholarship has helped Western Dakota Tech for enrollment purposes but also the community as well as the state of South Dakota."

The scholarship requires students to stay in South Dakota working in their career for three years.

One student starting school in the fall says this scholarship is instrumental to his future.

Geoff Atherton, student at WDT says, "It made it so I was able to go. I talked with my wife and I probably wouldn't be able to afford school with raising a family if I couldn't get some kind of assistance. I've used up my G.I. money so it made a resource available so we don't have to bank on using family funds."

Students interested should apply in the fall semester *before* they plan on actually starting school.