Build Dakota Scholarship Program Continues to Fund Education, Fill Skills Gap

Deni Martin, Build Dakota Scholarship program manager, shares the success of the nearly 10-year-old scholarship

View the full interview.

Build Dakota Cops

On Monday night, the Yankton City Commission authorized the Yankton Police Department to become a sponsor of the Build Dakota Scholarship program. Anyone interested in taking advantage of this program should contact the YPD at 605-668-5210 for more information.

Visit the link here to learn more!

Cohort 9: 2023-2024 Build Dakota Scholarship Recipients

Our goal is to give students the opportunity to enter programs in our state’s high-need industries and finish school debt-free. Take a look at the list of the 2023-2024 Build Dakota Scholarship recipients!

View the full list of 2023-2024 Build Dakota Scholarship recipients (PDF) here.

Build Dakota Scholarship Fund: A unique scholarship opportunity

Listen to our segment aired on In the Moment on SDPB Radio discussing the unique scholarship opportunity that Build Dakota offers.

Build Dakota Roadshow

The Build Dakota Roadshow is continuing to make stops at high schools within the region to talk to seniors about available scholarships. To hear more from students across the state about their experience, listen to the soundbites from the full news article provided by WNAX.

Companies are Fighting Over These Students’ as SD Scholarship Gives Opportunity to Avoid Dropout, Debt

26-member-class of Menno High School has approximately half planning to attend one of South Dakota’s four technical colleges, with several applying for the Build Dakota Scholarship. The Build Dakota Scholarship Program was created with the goal to increase the number of skilled workers entering into high-need sectors of the workforce within the state. With the scholarship program’s past success, employers are already contacting schools offering the full-ride scholarships.

To learn more about the scholarship, explore and read the full news article from the Mitchell Republic.

Cohort 7: 2021-2022 Annual Report

From enrollment numbers to partners and resources to student success stories and to looking at the future, this comprehensive annual report explains the ins and outs of the Build Dakota Scholarship Fund and its long-term impact throughout South Dakota.

View the 2021-2022 annual report (PDF) to learn more.

Program Offers Students Free Schooling, Job Opportunities

The “Build Dakota Roadshow” is an event sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation and the Yankton Thrive organization. The roadshow consists of 30-minute interactive assemblies at eight area schools for students and parents to learn ways the program can connect them with training, employers and jobs — at no cost to them.

To qualify for the scholarships, students must attend a high-need career program at one of the state’s four technical colleges, and in return, students agree to work in that field in South Dakota for three years.

To learn more about the scholarship, explore and read the full news article from the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan.

Build Dakota Announces Cohort 7

Build Dakota Success Leads to More Industry Participation and Student Support, Helping Address South Dakota’s Workforce Challenges

The seventh cohort of Build Dakota Scholarship Fund students will begin classes this month, helping to fill the gap of essential workforce needs for South Dakota. The Build Dakota Scholarship

In January 2021, Governor Kristi Noem announced an additional $20 million in continued support of the Build Dakota Scholarship Fund, securing funding for the program for another five years.

“The state’s commitment to the Build Dakota Scholarship is one of the best examples of how government can partner with private business to make real change in our state,” said South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. “As more and more businesses look to South Dakota to escape overregulation and high taxes, the Build Dakota Scholarship will allow our workforce the chance to train and meet the needs of our growing economy.”

Over 70% of scholars are backed by an industry partner, meaning these students are guaranteed a job upon completing their degree. Industry partners provide a match with scholarship dollars. In return, students commit to working for the industry partner for three years following graduation. With workforce recruitment challenges facing businesses across the state and nation, Build Dakota offers security and stability for businesses who invest in their workforce through the industry partner program.

“As we enter our seventh year of offering Build Dakota Scholarships to young people, I think we have even more momentum than we did when we announced the program,” said Build Dakota Chairman Dana Dykhouse. “This scholarship is moving the needle for South Dakota employers and helping create successful careers for our state’s workforce.”

Each technical college manages their own industry partner program, working with local businesses and economic development organizations to find future employment opportunities for Build Dakota scholars in high-need workforce areas. This cohort is supported by over $2.6 million in funding from industry partners like Sanford Health, Fiegen Construction, CHS and many more.

“Our industry partner program has allowed more scholars to be awarded these scholarships, through a match program,” said Deni Amundson, program manager for Build Dakota. “Scholars with an industry partner are guaranteed a job after graduation, and the industry partner has a steady stream of highly trained employees.”

“Year after year, we have a very high level of interest from both students and industry partners wanting to utilize the Build Dakota scholarship at Southeast Technical College,”

said Southeast Technical College President Robert Griggs. “This program has changed the narrative about technical education in our state, and I’m excited to see continued growth and partnerships.”

View the 2021-2022 Build Dakota Scholarship recipients.

To learn more about the Build Dakota Scholarship and find details on how to become an industry partner, visit

Black Hills Tire Employee Receives Dakota Build Scholarship

Adrian Cox, a soon-to-be Western Dakota Tech student, receives a Dakota Build scholarship that will allow him to enter and complete the Automotive Program with no debt and a secured career. Jeannie Best, Asst. Dir. of Scholarships Western Dakota Technical Institute, says that on top of having a job set in stone after graduation, Cox will also “be able to sustain the cost of living,” thanks to Dakota Build.

Read the full article here.