South Dakota’s technical colleges were solid again in graduates’ placement in their job fields

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Technical College

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — More than half of last year’s graduates of South Dakota’s public technical colleges said in a survey they’re working in their fields in South Dakota this year.

The state Board of Technical Education discussed the latest results Thursday.

Following up with more than 2,000 graduates on career placement isn’t easy, according to assistant director. “You do a lot of chasing,” Scott DesLauriers said.

The campuses at Sioux Falls, Watertown, Mitchell and Rapid City graduated 2,396 students in the 2019-2020 academic year and 2,102 responded to the survey, with 1,616 saying they were employed in their fields including 1,398 in South Dakota.

By comparison, last year’s report showed that 2,175 of the 2,396 graduates from 2018-2019 responded, with 1,586 saying they were employed in their fields including 1,302 in South Dakota.

Mitchell Technical Institute president Mark Wilson said dollars were short when the four campuses came together years ago on the decision to do annual placement surveys.

“That’s an impressive report. I would recommend we all carry it with us at all times,” board president Dana Dykhouse of Sioux Falls said.

The hospitality/tourism and multi-studies clusters had 100% placement in their fields, according to the latest survey, while eight other clusters had 90% or higher.

Of the 15 clusters, two were lower than 84%. They were the law, public safety and security cluster at 69.5% and the arts, audio-visual technology and communications cluster at 75%.

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