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Tech Students In High Demand

January 9, 2012, 5:22 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Tech Students In High Demand
WATERTOWN, SD - With a surplus of them, it's not a bad time to be looking for a job in South Dakota. And with the types of jobs available, tech students are in high demand.

Mitchell Tech has had employers ask how many students are in a program and then offer to take them all. And Lake Area Tech in Watertown has had employers recruiting for more positions than the school has had graduates in some programs.

"It's looking very good; there are a lot of jobs popping up," energy technology student Brandon Johnson said. "The career we're in, there's a high percentage of older people in it. So a lot of new jobs are going to be coming up pretty soon."

In the precision machining shop, Adam Klumb already has a handful of job offers to choose from. And he didn't have to seek them out; employers came to him.

"No, I didn't expect it. So it's a nice, pleasant surprise," Klumb said.

Lake Area has advisory boards made up of industry professionals who tell the school what skills are needed from students to fill the jobs in demand. The electronics and robotics departments at Lake Area are seeing a high demand.

"We're graduating maybe 12 and there're 30, maybe 35 jobs for those 12 to pick. Plenty of jobs out there, good money jobs," instructor Brooks Jacobsen said.

Manufacturing, agriculture, health care, energy and financial services are all areas in which technical schools are reporting high employer demand.

Administrators say interest has picked up over the past couple years. And there's been an increased demand among in-state employers. Johnson's happy with the trend.

"I want to stay in-state, go back to Aberdeen where I'm from," Johnson said.

But as he and others study their trade, options reach beyond the state's borders as well.

At Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, officials have also been fielding calls from eager employers. They also say construction isn't seeing the jump in demand like some other programs, but employers in other fields are still taking those students and adapting their skills to fit the industry's needs.

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