We've been telling you for years about the shortage of skilled workers in South Dakota. Now the group Forward Sioux Falls and Southeast Tech are joining together to try to fill the gap. It all starts with a big push to get more people into technical education.
These civil engineering and land survey technology students are on a fast track to good paying jobs. 24-year-old Andrew Purintun was a carpenter when he decided to go back to school and get new skills.
"I went to a tech school because it seemed more practical to me at the time. And the job outlook for civil engineering and land surveying is growing about twice as fast as the economy is going to grow in 10 years," Purintun said.
Purintun can expect his starting salary to be between $40,000 and $50,000 a year. He's halfway into the program and already had a summer internship with an engineering company.
"It definitely is a phenomenal field. We have contractors and people calling us all the time saying we need people, we need people and we just can't fill those positions," Teacher Beth Kassing said.
More than half of the civil engineer technology students who will graduate this spring already have full-time jobs waiting for them. While Southeast Tech has its all time second highest enrollment this year, the need for skilled workers is greater than the number of students in the 53 different programs here.
"There are a lot of misconceptions out there, not only about technical education, but also about careers in industry. People have no idea the variety of wonderful, good-paying, rewarding careers available in industry," Nancee Sturdevant of the SE Tech Foundation said.
Getting that message out is the main goal of a new $100,000 marketing campaign called TechEd Works for Me.
One of the first steps in the TechEd Works for Me program, will be going into the high schools to attract more students to programs like these.
Southeast Tech, along with Forward Sioux Falls will be unveiling the new TechEd Works for Me program tomorrow. We'll bring you coverage on KELOLAND News.