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 BuildDakotaScholarships.com/Industry-Partners.

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.

SD Community Foundation Makes Pledge To Grow Workforce And Educate The State’s Young People

Deni Amundson, Program Manager for Build Dakota Scholarships, reflects on receiving a $50,000 grant from the South Dakota Community Foundation. Amundson and Stephanie Johnson, President/CEO of the South Dakota Community Foundation, expect to see student-industry partner relationships to strengthen, creating a “ripple effect in our state,” in the direction of workforce retention.

Read the full article here.

South Dakota Retailers Association Feature

Read the June – July 2021 newsletter from South Dakota Retailers Association, featuring Build Dakota Scholarships and its offerings for students and employers. Check out page 2 of the article to learn more.

Build Dakota Scholarship Fund Continues Laying Foundation for Workforce

“With growth in South Dakota seemingly inevitable, there will be a bevy of jobs available for specific skill sets in the future. To help train the next available candidates, the Build Dakota Scholarship program has provided nearly 2,000 students with the opportunity to graduate debt-free and enter the workforce in South Dakota.”

View the full interview with program Manager Deni Amundson to learn more.

Cohort 6: 2020-2021 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 2020-201 annual report (PDF) to learn more.

Full Ride Scholarship Benefits Traditional and Non-Traditional Students

In an article by SDN Communications, the benefits of the Build Dakota Scholarship Program are highlighted for students and employers alike:

“Build Dakota was created several years ago to help the state’s technical schools recruit students in fields with workforce shortages, such as telecommunications. By providing full scholarships and creating industry partnerships with companies, including SDN Communications, the Build Dakota program creates more skilled scholars for the state’s workforce. It’s a winning situation for all involved — students receive a free education, businesses gain employees and South Dakota grows.”

Read the full article here.

Black Hills Fox: Build Dakota Offers Scholarships

Black Hills Fox hosts Deni Amundson, program director of Build Dakota Scholarships, to discuss the background and benefits of the program. With 300-400 scholarships offered per year, the ability to work with industry partner programs and to address local workforce, this program is becoming a model for other scholarship programs in the nation.

Watch the full interview here.