More students are attending Southeast Technical Institute this year than last fall.
Just a few years ago, the school was struggling with its enrollment numbers and many teachers were even worried about being laid off. Yet this Fall, student enrollment has jumped to 875 first-year students, which is a big increase for the tech school.
You'll find Southeast Tech student James Karrels spending a lot of time outdoors. The Black Hills native is a first-year land surveying student.
"During high school, I did not like high school at all because you just took classes that you don't really need," said Karrels.
Yet his time at Southeast Tech has been a lot different.
"I really like these classes. I'm actually going to be using all of this, so I really got to pay attention. It helps out so much in the long-run because you're just more focused on what you're doing," Karrels said.
And he's not the only one. A lot of students are buying into that style of learning as well.
Overall enrollment has increased by 6 percent since last fall, and the number of first-year students has increased by 10 percent.
Interim Director of Admissions Jacque Danielson says there are more efforts focused on recruitment than ever before.
"We've done some things differently here as far as more communication with prospective students, more campus visits, more student lead tours for prospective students to go on," said Danielson.
The appeal for hands-on tech schools over four-year university options has those like Karrels jumping on board.
"They're hearing about the hands-on opportunities that tech schools provide," said Danielson.
"Pretty much a guaranteed job in most of the stuff you go into. So I think a lot of people are switching over because it's just one of the best gigs," Karrels said.
Danielson adds the strong programs like automotive technology, which is in the running for the best program in the country, is bringing in more students to Southeast Tech.
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