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Majors & Degrees

New community partnership will spur workforce development

December 17, 2017

Four state organizations have joined forces to create a new workforce development program designed to benefit students, area businesses and the state.

The four core partners – Dakota State University, Southeast Tech, the Sioux Falls School District and the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) – will collaborate with businesses to create a South Dakota Partnership for Student Success, or SDPaSS.

Features of SDPaSS will include:

  • Supervised internships in business/industry supervised by faculty at Dakota State University, Southeast Tech or the Sioux Falls School District
  • Registered apprenticeship connections and guidance through DLR
  • Academic certificates in cybersecurity, or network services or software development
  • Associate degrees in network and security administration (DSU and Southeast Tech), software development (DSU), software support (Southeast Tech)
  • DSU baccalaureate degrees in network and security administration or cyber operations

“SDPaSS program apprenticeships and internships will offer opportunities to learn while one earns, at a paid placement in the workplace. On-line or traditional classroom-based learning will be reinforced through application in a real job, demonstrating the relevance of the academic materials.I’m excited about this program!” said South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Some components of SDPaSS will be available for fall 2018; the partners will work together to develop other features.

“DSU is committed to active participation in this community partnership,” said Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University, “as it will enhance workforce development by extending the range of educational opportunities and pathways to a greater variety of individuals beyond the traditional college-bound high school graduates.”

Griffiths continued, “While this partnership is focused on technology, the SDPaSS model can be replicated in other job categories and in other locations across the state.”

Bob Griggs, president of Southeast Tech, said “Our mission has always been to fulfill the needs of our regional workforce through career-building education. Through this new innovative partnership we are excited to extend opportunities to our industry partners, as well as students who are looking for alternative methods of education, and also to adults who are looking for more and better career opportunities where they can earn while they learn.”

Businesses will be active participants in the SDPaSS program through the internship and apprenticeship opportunities, and ultimately as full-time employers of the program’s graduates, said Dr. Richard Hanson, dean of the Dakota State University Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences.

“We think businesses of all sizes will appreciate SDPaSS because it will enlarge the pool of qualified job applicants, reduce industry training costs for businesses, and ultimately provide a stronger employee base,” Hanson said. “This is real workforce training.”

The model will also benefit students at all stages of the learning continuum, including non-college bound students, the under-employed, traditional college-bound students, those re-entering the workforce, employees hoping to advance in their company, or those seeking a career change.

SDPaSS also addresses two national educational agendas, including degree completion and lowering the cost of higher education.

The program was formally announced at a news conference at Southeast Tech on December 18. Dignitaries speaking at the ceremony included:

  • South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard
  • Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University
  • Bob Griggs, president of Southeast Tech
  • Dr. Brian Maher, superintendent of the Sioux Falls School District
  • Jim Jacobsen, vice president of academics at Southeast Tech
  • Jason Ball, president/CEO, Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce